John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Sunday Morning

jyb_musingsGet up!

If you are like me and plan on doing nothing at all this Sunday, you ought to at least have enough pride to get up early and start right away!

Anything worth doing –even doing nothing –is worth doing well.

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Sunday morning vanity conversation leading to disappointment

This morning I was admiring my recent weight loss in the bathroom mirror as my wife and I were getting ready to go out for coffee. After my proud moment of self-satisfaction, I threw on a pair of jeans and wet my hair before combing it and began looking for a shirt.”

My wife walked in the bathroom to explain how our dog Macy was just showing off to her by proudly holding a spider in her mouth before it dropped out and ran away.

Wanting to change the topic back to my proud weight loss, I pointed to myself and said, “Well, what do you think?”

“What?” Rebecca answered quizzically.

“This.” I responded smugly pointing in a circular motion to my torso area.

“What? You got water on you?”

“No!” I said flustered. “I’ve lost 28 lbs.”

“Oh.” Rebecca responded laughing. “You are acting like Macy showing off having a spider in her mouth.”

“No I’m not.” I said defensively. “I don’t think it’s the same thing at all. First off Macy didn’t lose 28 lbs and, second off, I am not holding anything in my mouth.”

“OK.” Rebecca said laughing to herself.

“Do you have water on you?” I repeated to myself under my breath. “Really?”

“Well, I’m proud of both you and Macy this morning.” Rebecca offered in a consoling voice.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: September 12th

jyb_musingsI know this is probably not politically correct to say but I personally believe Sept 12th is a more significant date for our country to commemorate than Sept 11th.

Because it signifies that no matter how horrifically shocking the terrorist attack was 13 years ago, that it lasted only one day, and on Sept 12th, we began picking up the pieces and moving ahead, chastened and somber, to be sure, but also united and wiser and unbowed.

And that, to me, is important for us to remember and celebrate today.

Julie Rath: How to Choose a Tuxedo

Dressing for a formal event is like ice climbing: one misstep, and it’s all downhill. The reason there are so many rules to follow is that the point of formal dressing originally was that at formal engagements, men could blend into the crowd while their female companions could stand out in their finery. For this reason, if you’re having a formal wedding, it’s particularly important that you nail the details. With so many options out there, here’s your cheat sheet:

Renting vs Buying: Buy if at all possible. When you have a chance to dress formally — particularly on your wedding day — you should look your absolute best, and renting won’t achieve that. I’ve seen more ill-fitting rented tuxes than I care to recall. Yes, buying a good-quality, well-tailored tux is an investment, but it’s a very good one that will pay dividends in photos. Not to mention you’ll save in the long run not having to rent each time you need one. Renting will cost you anywhere from 25-50% of the average purchase price of a tux, so if you do it a few times, and it adds up. You’ll be happy next time you get a formal invite if you’re armed with a tux in your closet that fits you impeccably.

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Black Tie vs. White Tie vs. Morning Attire: The wording of your invitation dictates the color of your neckwear. “Black tie” (also referred to as “evening dress”) means a black bowtie, which is traditionally worn with a tuxedo. “White tie” (also referred to as ” full evening dress;” see above left) means a white bowtie, which is worn with tails. This is a very dressy look. Both black and white tie are generally worn after 6PM. A morning suit is your most formal daytime look (see above right). This is typically reserved for weddings taking place before 6PM. The morning coat (essentially a frock coat with the corners cut away — hence the term “cutaway coat”) is black or gray with a single button at the waist. Wear it with gray striped trousers, a gray or white vest, a wing collar shirt, and a tie or an ascot. Leave the top hat and walking stick at home.

The information below pertains to tuxedos.

Color and Fabric: Black is the standard, but midnight blue is also acceptable. White is typically worn in warmer climates for open-air events.  Choose something in a wool that isn’t too heavy. Chances are you’re only going to have one tux in your closet, so it should be as versatile as possible.

Jacket: The most common and versatile jacket type is a one-button, but you can also go with double-breasted (see above), which looks best on guys with broader physiques. If you wear a double-breasted jacket, a cummerbund is unnecessary. The traditional dinner jacket (a fancy name for your tux jacket) is ventless, but a you can also go for a more modern — and generally more flattering — look with double vents.


Collar: This should be either peaked or shawl. A peaked lapel (where the points of the lapel point upward; see above and below left) reads as more powerful, whereas shawl collar (which has a continuous curve; see above and below right) sends off a softer message. Unless you’re a waiter, your wedding tux shouldn’t have a notched lapel.

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Cummerbund/Vest/Going Without: Formal dressing dictates that the waistband of your trousers should never show, hence the traditional need for either a vest or cummerbund. In general, the cummerbund is a more stylish option. If you wear a vest, your guests might ask where your organ and monkey are, and hopefully you won’t be bringing either to your wedding, so why confuse people? Either way, the cummerbund or vest should be subtle and keep its mouth shut. Now is not the time to channel your inner Elton John. If you opt for the classic cummerbund, make sure you wear it with the pleats facing upward (fun fact: this hails from British colonial days where gentlemen used to tuck their theater tickets into the pleats). Formal dressing aside, if you want to stray from tradition, this is one place where that’s ok. These days, it’s become acceptable for guys to skip the vest or cummerbund altogether. Just make sure the shirt you buy has actual buttons or a covered placket, and this will eliminate the need for studs.

Pants: Your pants never have cuffs, as that would spoil the sleek lines of your look. They should have satin banding on the sides. No belts please — your tux pants should come with side adjusters to ensure proper fit. If you still feel you need something to hold them up, you can wear suspenders in simple black or white.

Shirt: Your shirt should be perfectly pressed and have French cuffs. It can have either a plain, bib or narrowly-pleated front. It’s made of marcella cotton, which is noticeably thicker than regular cotton and has a honeycomb-like appearance. The shirt is either turndown or wing collar. A turndown collar is always sharp, modern and elegant, while a wing collar is a bit of a throwback to the 19th century and works best with white tie.

Bowtie: Always tie it yourself. If you’ve never tied one before, now is the time to learn. This guide will walk you through it. The bowtie should be black and made of silk satin or silk grosgain. If you’re more comfortable in a straight tie, it’s acceptable to wear a black one that’s relatively slim, as a more modern fashion statement (see above).

Socks and Shoes: The former should be black silk hose, and the latter either black patent leather or polished black calf skin. Shoes should be lightweight and unadorned.

Accessories: As mentioned above, when dressing formally, blending in is a good thing, and standing out only leads to embarrassment as it means you broke the rules somehow. If this feels overly rigid, and you’re itching to show some personal style, you can do so via your accessories. Just make sure you keep the look subtle and nuanced. Your pocket square, cuff links, studs, watch (which matches your cuff links) and charming personality are excellent ways to do so.

Fit: As with suiting, fit is your everything when it comes to formal attire. It should fit close to your frame with the jacket hitting exactly on your shoulders. The break on your pants can be slightly shorter than what you normally get on regular trousers.

While there is quite a bit to keep in mind with black-tie dressing, don’t let it intimidate you. After all, wearing a tux is about confidence and panache. Once you figure it out, you’ll find that a tux can be completely transformative for any man. It’s absolutely worth the work.

Will Meyerhofer: Evil Middle Management

Will MeyerhoferWhen I launched The People’s Therapist, my intent was to get stuff off my chest – process a smidgen of psychic trauma. I’d write a column or two, exorcise the odd demon, piss off Sullivan & Cromwell and call it a day.

It never occurred to me I’d be deluged with lawyers as clients.

It never, ever occurred to me I’d be deluged with partners as clients.

It never so much as crossed my mind they’d be so unhappy.

It turns out being a partner can be…not all that. For many of my clients, the job boils down to evil middle management.

Permit me to explain.

Biglaw associates resemble the low-level evil henchman in James Bond movies – those omnipresent guys in jumpsuits who all look the same and do what they’re told. They drive around evil headquarters in little golf carts, manipulate dials in the control room, shoot at James Bond (always missing) – then get shot themselves. Presumably – like biglaw associates – they’re mostly in it for the money, rather than a genuine penchant for evil.

I felt like an impostor at S&C – only pretending to be a genuine low-level evil henchman. I was more like James Bond after he bonks the real low-level evil henchman on the head, then reemerges strolling through evil headquarters sporting that guy’s jumpsuit.

I was an impostor – trying to look like I drank the Kool-Aid, going through the motions. I wasn’t even a clandestine agent, battling evil, like 007. The plan to blow up the moon wasn’t my problem. I just wanted a way out of that crummy job – one not involving a fatal dunk in the evil piranha tank. Somewhere in that evil-lair-secreted-in-a-hollowed-out-volcano there had to be a door marked exit.

Most of the partners I work with are looking for the same thing. The difference is, as a partner, you’re not an impostor pretending to be a low-level evil henchman – you’re an impostor pretending to be evil middle management.

“Preposterous!” you sputter, outraged. “Partners never condescend to be middle anything! They crouch, smugly, at the pinnacle of the evil pyramid! With one wiggle of their evil little finger…they manipulate human life!”

It can look that way from the bottom rung, whence a partner appears as far removed from a low-level evil henchman as a junior associate from a positive bank balance.

From the vantage of the pyramid’s sub-sub-basement, all partners appear interchangeable – the unifying feature being their utter dissimilarity from anyone like you. A partner’s one of them – evil incarnate, possessing his own evil headquarters – his own creepy evil white cat (for stroking purposes) – and his own weird evil European accent (with which to mutter, “Come now, Mr. Bond…”) A partner doesn’t have to drink the Kool-Aid – an iv bag of the stuff dangles by his bedside.

If only that were true. After getting all up-close and personal with a bevy of partners, I’ve caught wind of a terrifying reality: All partners are not the same. Most are nothing more than evil middle managers.

It turns out – I swear on a stack of Books of Mormon – there’s only one guy per law firm who actually owns an evil headquarters.

He’s also the one guy who gets to stroke a cat and mutter diabolical threats. At most, there are six or seven guys (yes, they’re always guys.)

The other, lesser partners aren’t diabolical geniuses – or low-level evil henchmen. These so-called “partners” only get to act like they personify evil – they’re hardly Dr. Evil himself. They’re more like the bland guy sitting in the wrong chair in the evil boardroom when Dr. Evil presses that discreet little button – the one that activates the steel wrist straps and the trapdoor in the floor.

I’ve worked with partners so traumatized by the situation, it’s shaken their faith in global organizations dedicated to evil.

It’s dispiriting.

Here, in a nutshell, is how you end up in evil middle management:

Over the course of years of slave labor, you make yourself indispensable to a rainmaker (your “rabbi”.) He elevates you. Then two things happen: First, you acquire the title of PARTNER and all the rights, privileges and immunities (and status and money) thereunto appertaining; and second, the ink begins to dry on a binding contract with Beelzebub.

Mr. Rabbi doesn’t share his clients with you. You’ve never spoken to them. He elevated you to do his work, transforming you into a glorified senior associate (glorified = overpaid.) Since the downturn in 2008, there are no longer any actualsenior associates at the firm – they’ve been fired – so the actual partner reduces your points (partner-speak for money) and increases your workload.

It’s getting to where you’re not even overpaid, let alone glorified.

Don’t like it? No problem. Do what they keep telling you to do: Find your own clients. Generate business. Pull your weight. Do some marketing.

There are issues. First, you don’t know how to market. They didn’t have a class in “marketing” at your evil law school. Second, when you try marketing – which seems to mean pointless research, then taking people you hardly know out to lunch – you feel like an idiot. Third, it doesn’t work. They don’t suddenly call with a pile of overpaid legal stuff for you to do.

This is not entirely surprising. In a domestic market containing, at minimum, twice the lawyers the entire planet could possibly utilize, clients aren’t sitting around waiting to be asked to hire over-priced outside counsel. Many are bringing work in-house to cut legal bills – or strong-arming outside counsel to trim prices.

You could offer to reduce your fee – slide your price to bring in work – but your rabbi won’t hear of it. It would “degrade the firm’s brand” – which means it might affect his fee. He’s got his own book of business, and doesn’t give what we’ll euphemistically refer to as a “hoot” about your book of business. You’re competition.  He’s content having you do his work.

That’s evil middle management. You’re a partner, but you don’t feel like it. Your friends and family assume you’re rich and powerful. Your car mechanic tacks on made-up charges when you take your Benz in for a tune-up. Obscure charities guilt you into tickets to their annual ball thingamabobs. Even your therapist considerately slides his rate up for you.  : )

The truth is you’re rich-ish – or used to be, or were heading in that direction. But you earn a tiny fraction of the rabbi’s take and that keeps declining. And power? You hold none whatsoever, beyond the ability to torment associates – which isn’t as much fun since they fired all the associates.

Things get worse as the recession deepens. The plan to build your own book of business seems more and more like a pipe dream.

You have no actual idea what’s going on at your firm, since no one shares information. The other partners in your group tell you nothing. Without warning, five of them took off from the LA office last month. You found out by reading AboveTheLaw.

Scarier still, the rabbi isn’t sending you as much work. You hear about partners at other firms – and your own – getting pushed out. First, they’re hunched at their desks, playing computer solitaire – then they’re no longer with the firm. You recall that discreet little button.

There are additional indignities. Your secretary is fired. You come in and she’s not there. Yeah. That happens.

But you’re a partner! You can say to heck with it, and take off. If this is how they treat a co-owner of the firm, you’ll go somewhere else, where partnership still means something.

Nice try. You’re a service partner. You have no book of business. No other firm is going to greet you with open arms. They will buy a book of business – and probably overpay, since it will be inflated with clients who aren’t actually portable. But no book of business? No evil headquarters.

How about going in-house? Sure, you’ll take a pay cut, but a senior vice president job would be cool, or even general counsel. You could frame it as a lifestyle choice – something you’re doing for the wife and kids. You’ll work nine to five, get a company car, attend conferences. Might be refreshing.

It would be…if everyone else hadn’t thought of it, too. Service partners are lining up for those jobs.

Where to go?

Nowhere. You’re stuck where you are. Let’s face it, resigning your partnership isn’t a step you’ll take lightly. You worked your ass off for the ultimate lawyer honor – to become a would-be diabolical genius. You don’t give that up.

One client – a mid-level associate – recounted being taken aside by a female partner, and given a speech about the meaning of partnership. The partner intended to inspire.  She came across as unhinged.

“She said making partner was better than I could imagine,” my client recalled. “It was the greatest day of your life. It was better than sex. It was better than getting married. It was better than having a child.”

“At some point, she got this weird look in her eyes – it creeped me out. I listened with a frozen smile and thought, I’ve got to get out of here before this happens to me.”

Okay, so some partners are a little…touched. Evil genius is a difficult job description. And maybe it isn’t better than sex. But you shouldn’t under-estimate the degree to which making partner is played up in the world of biglaw. It’s the beginning of everything – wealth, power, respect. You become a real person – someone who can hold his head up. You go to private clubs, buy bad-ass apartments and vacation on Mustique in a rented villa. You’re “in” – a made man – sitting at the table with Dr. Evil (no one mentions the discreet little button.)

The truth is, I hear a lot more partners talking about resigning their partnership than I see actually doing it. One guy who did resign from a major firm was literally covered in shingles and having a nervous breakdown when he quit. He couldn’t get out of bed or stop crying. (No, he wasn’t my client.) I got the feeling he felt obligated to reduce himself to that state to earn permission to do the unthinkable – or convince his wife (who wasn’t terribly sympathetic.)

To make partner, you elevated the goal of earning major bucks into the focus of your life for an endless string of god-awful years. Along the way, you picked up a spouse and kids and a mortgage. It ends up like everything else in biglaw – all about the money.

If the rabbi’s happy and has work for you, then you still count as a partner at a big law firm. You are evil middle-management. You can wear the fez and dark glasses each day and maintain the facade. You’re a partner. You were elevated.

Meanwhile, you daydream about killing the rabbi with an ax. You hate handing your life over to that condescending windbag.  You moan to your wife about how you can’t take it anymore. How many partnership meetings can you attend in the evil boardroom, watching him toy with that discreet little button…wondering if you’re sitting in the wrong chair…

Partner isn’t a title. It’s what you do. Unless you go out there and – by some miracle – bring in business, you’re not really a partner, equity or otherwise. You’re someone who gets called a partner for working for a partner.

Even if you have a book of business, it can be tough. I worked with a junior partner with a growing book of business.  He hates the grind.  Being on-call 24/7 triggers anxiety attacks. He debates quitting, going “part-time,” trying for a government job or taking the leap and starting his own firm. With a book of business, he’s got options.

Other partners have fewer options.

One service partner client discovered her rabbi was defecting to a notorious sweatshop. He offered to bring her with, but she couldn’t stomach it, and stayed behind.

Work dried up. Now she’s at another firm, on her own, unable to drum up business. In-house jobs aren’t materializing. She talks to her husband about moving to the country, giving the whole thing up, getting out of law…

Like many partners, she’s looking for an exit – one not involving a fatal dunk in the evil piranha tank.
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This piece is part of a series of columns presented by The People’s Therapist in cooperation with AboveTheLaw.com. My thanks to ATL for their help with the creation of this series.

If you enjoy these columns, please check out The People’s Therapist’s new book,Way Worse Than Being A Dentist: The Lawyer’s Quest for Meaning

I also heartily recommend my first book, an introduction to the concepts behind psychotherapy, Life is a Brief Opportunity for Joy

(Both books are also available on bn.com and the Apple iBookstore.) 

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Rewards

jyb_musingsI got excited to see a late night email from American Express that I was receiving an “update” on my recent increase in Rewards points including a link to use them to shop for something right now.

My excitment grew when pictured under the notice was a picture of a brand new iPad and next to that JetBlue airlines and mention of round trip ticket to any of a long list of resorts.

So I click the link.

And find out my new “updated” Rewards point total is worth just under $28 and that the only purchases suggested for me from the Amex “store” is an eye liner or alternatively a rouge compact. But only with 170 more Rewards points.

Anybody out there want to trade me a new iPad for some Amex eye liner? And who also can spare 170 Reward points?

Josh Bowen: Find Your Why

joshA couple of days ago, I was sent a youtube video that made a ton of sense to me. You can watch it here
From a business perspective, this gentleman starts by going through what separates the top companies from everyone else. In particular, he uses Apple as an example. In his example he states that most companies will market in this order; what we do, how we do it and finally why we do it. He later explains that the most successful companies use the “golden circle” and start with why they do it first, followed by how and what. He argues that people will buy WHY you do something over how or what you do. Apple doesn’t have any advantages that Microsoft or Dell or any other computer company has. Apple just knows their why and they include it in all their marketing and branding. This separates them from everyone else.

This led me back to my book, 12 Steps to Fitness Freedom, where I talk about the “Power of the Why,” and why it is crucial to success or failure in fitness and literally everywhere else. I have included a part of it below. But take a moment and really do some soul searching on WHY you do what you do everyday. The why is driving you in every endeavor you choose to be apart of. Finding your why changes the game for you. It motivates you and inspires you to make necessary adjustments and changes to ensure victory on your challenge.

So I challenge you to find your “WHY” in all aspects of your life. It is crucial to survival. To be fair, I will share with you my “WHY.” I am completely driven to making a difference in people’s lives, positively. No matter what the venue, my goal and vision is to impact everyone I train or come in contact with in positive matter so they are better for it. At the end of the day I want people to say, “because of you, I achieved.” It is my why and it is my driving force, not only through exercise and fitness but also through leadership and constant development. Enjoy the below:

The Power of Why (from Step 1 of 12 Steps to Fitness Freedom)

The greatest minds in the human races’ history have always asked one question, Why? Einstein, Edison, and Newton all posed the question of why and no matter how many times they failed they constantly pushed forward. The Power of Why.

Think about a child who is inquisitive, what do they ask repeatedly? WhyWhy is the ocean blue? Why do I have to go to sleep at 8? Why do I have to go to school? Why why why? Their nature is to constantly pose the question of why so they can consistently learn and understand the why.

The why gives reason behind decisions and clarity behind things that are not yet understood. Reason and clarity are very big when discussing fitness goals:Why is getting in shape important to you? Why will having bigger arms or a smaller waist positively impact your self esteem? Why?

As you embark into a fitness regime it is important to remember why you are starting. From the mere example of you reading this means, on some level, you are interested in fitness. Either you; are wanting to start, wanting to continue what you started or are looking for fresh ideas to keep you going. Either way, we all go through a pre-contemplation phase when it comes to working out.

Some decide to put both feet in and go after it others keep one foot in and the other out and then there are those that never start. The decision is a personal one but once we cross into the stage of doing something about our current situation, it is important to remember why we are doing it.

So here is what we are going to do…
I am going to generalize everyone and pose the following questions:

1. What outcomes are you wanting/expecting from exercise program?
2. Which of those outcomes is the most important to you?
3. Why is that so important to you?

The answers to any of those questions can and will vary considerably. Everyone starts or continues and fitness program for different reasons. The importance to find the why behind the what.

Is the answer to number one; more energy, less body fat or to be healthier? We can easily put those answers into three categories; how you feel, how you look and how your insides are functioning. Either way these are important to you.
Now we must pick one as our sole goal to focus on. This should be the driving force on your fitness journey, the thing you cannot live without. Once we have answered that we are on our way.

Lastly, we must instill the Power of the WhyWhy is that goal important to you and why is it the most important to you? The answer will define your fitness experience and adherence. Is it because you’ve always wanted abs or because you felt better when you were 20 lbs lighter? At the end of the day we all do this for an emotional reason and to boost how we feel about us. Nothing more, nothing less. Fitness changes us for the better by supplying confidence and increased self esteem we may not have gotten from anywhere else. This is the

Power of the Why!

Never forget your why and the reason you do this. On the days when you don’t feel well or you’re stressed from work. Remember your why. It is powerful beyond all comprehension.

PS: Write your most important goal down and the reason it’s so important on your mirror or car dash. When times get rough and you feel like quitting look at it and remember why you are here. Positive thoughts and energy creates positive outcomes.

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Corporate Iron Man Triathlon

jyb_musingsI propose the Corporate Iron Man Triathlon

On the Monday following the actual Iron Man.

It will consist of 112 conference calls, sitting through 26.2 PowerPoint presentations and finishing with 2.4 hours of continuing education credits.

And in the spirit of the real Iron Man competition, the individual contests will lead to no particular destination but just be a test of endurance.

And, of course, wearing cool gear will matter more than it should.

I have already started training!

Lauren Mayer: Career Goals For The Real World

For generations, we’ve illustrated ‘the American Dream’ as being a place “where anyone can grow up to be President.”  But these days, one look at President Obama’s weary face& gray hair, not to mention the merciless way people can attack any public figure anonymously, is enough to scare off impressionable kids.  (Can you imagine the field day internet trolls would have had with William Howard Taft breaking the White House bathtub because he was too heavy for it?)

Interestingly enough, however, poor approval ratings don’t seem to have dampened enthusiasm for Congressional candidates.  (The lucrative revolving door between public & private jobs, as illustrated by Eric Cantor’s recent windfall, may help . . . )

When I was a kid, “Schoolhouse Rock” taught us about the 3 branches of government via catchy songs – so maybe it’s time for an update, about the joys of serving in Congress.

Dave Goldberg: Taking a Shot: Lessons Learned in Entrepreneurship

“If you had one shot, or one opportunity. To seize everything you ever wanted in one moment. Would you capture it or just let it slip?”

Lose Yourself – Eminem

Dave GoldbergTaking that shot at starting a business feels like jumping off a ski jump- you know should be able to land but it will require luck and skill. I started my first business with my friend Bob Roback twenty years ago with an idea. We fundamentally believed that the computer was going to be the way people consumed and discovered music. We created a prototype using the cutting edge technology available to us in 1994 to create a monthly CD-ROM that people played on their computer. It was called LAUNCH and was described as an “MTV that you could control.”

We landed well, though it was never easy. LAUNCH Media became a successful internet company that we eventually sold to Yahoo! in 2001. But, I made a lot of mistakes along the way. Unfortunately, there is no way to go to school to be a great entrepreneur. Experience is the only teacher and you don’t know what you don’t know when you start a company for the first time.

Here are some lessons that I learned along the way. Just because they worked for me doesn’t mean they will always work but I wish had understood these better before I started:

1. Play to your personal strengths. Aggressively and honestly identify your own weaknesses and supplement accordingly. Staff your team with people smarter and more knowledgeable than you are in those areas. This will let you focus your skills and expertise where they can have the most impact. I have learned what I am good at, and what I like to do; they are highly correlated. Correspondingly, hiring people to do the things you aren’t good at and don’t like will make you better at your role. (I recommend the book StrengthsFinder if you need help figuring out your strengths, but you could also do a quick survey of your peers, colleagues and family.)

2. Talk to people. Don’t fall into the trap of operating in stealth mode – your connections to others will be critical to success. Build a support structure including people who have been there and done it. There’s a pay-it-forward mentality among most entrepreneurs. Take advantage of it. Secrecy has some advantages but most ideas aren’t what make businesses successful – it is execution. To be a great executor, you need to get a lot of help and advice. That is worth the trade off on secrecy.

3. Listen to doubters. If for no other reason than to be able to prove them wrong! Your detractors can be blessings in disguise: they are an unlikely source of inspiration and motivation, and they just might speak some truth. Listen carefully, take what you can use and leave what you can’t. I still remember all the people who told me that no one would ever listen to music or watch ads on a computer.

4. Start now! There are many reasons for not starting a business. The media constantly reminds us of the high taxes, increased regulations and other impediments to starting businesses today. Ignore them. With the support systems in place for entrepreneurs, and the availability of talent and capital, there’s never been a better time to start a business. When I started, I didn’t know anyone else who had started a business and the support systems were immature or non-existent.

So get moving and take that one shot. It’ll be the best decision you make.

 

John Y’s Musings from the Middle: Inspiration

jyb_musingsAs we get older our ideals of what we can one day become changes too.

When we are younger we imagine ourseleves as one day becoming an astronaut, firefighter, pro athlete, Phd, movie star, CEO, President and the like. 

We line our bookshelves with stories about such people and line our walls with inspirational images and quotes from our idols.

And then one day we realize we have begun to ratchet down rather than ratchet up our hopes and dreams for oursleves —and have moved on to a new ideal of one day, with luck and effort, maybe becoming merely a wise and humorous companion.

And realize it is hard to find an inspirational book or motivational poster of Jiminy Cricket.

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Inspirational thought for the day

“If you can’t ‘Just Do It,’ look bored and indifferent like ‘Just Doing It’ is beneath you.”

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