Get To The Other Side
Dec 2012 06

It is an age old question with a lot of creative answers, but I’d like to prove that the chicken’s actual reason for crossing the road was in fact a strategic move all about perspective that could be gained from the other side.

This photo was taken on the corner of 27th and 5th Ave.

This photo was also taken on the corner of 27th and 5th Ave.

Both photos were taken at 8:15am looking north, the direction I was heading.

One of these photos shows the canyons of Midtown South emerging on the horizon with no memorable benchmark between me and the horizon.

One of these photos presents a clear and unmistakable point of reference by which to measure my progress against.  It also gave me a lot more motivation to keep fighting through all of the pedestrian traffic jams that were between me and my destination.

So, when thinking about the year behind and the year ahead, sometimes you just have to make like a chicken and cross the road because the perspective you need of the Empire ahead is on the other side.

No Pain. No Gain.
Oct 2012 23

“Entrepreneurship and investing is 100% about managing your own psychology.” - Chris Sacca

So how do you manage your psychology using negative stimuli? Chatted a little bit about it in today’s Forbes post.

The WHY
Jul 2012 22

When Bruce Wayne decides to get back out on the streets of Gotham as the Batman, he does so because others need him to. He does so because it seems like the right thing to do and that he is the right person to do it. All of those things are true. There isn’t another super hero waiting in the wings on. But, (spoiler alert) when he comes up against the pure evil of Bane, he stands no chance the first time around. The reason was simply the “WHY”

In one of the best TEDTalks out there, Simon Sinek talks about the difference between how good companies and great companies talk about what they do. Good companies explain what they do and then share how they do it. Great companies explain WHY they do what they do and the beliefs that back their motivation and then may also mention how and what they do to help round out the story. It is an 18 minutes well worth the time.

In thinking about Bane’s WHY vs. Batman’s WHY, it was crystal clear that Bane would win out in their first encounter (that and there was almost two hours left in the movie…)

His belief was forged in something bigger than himself and a quest that had nothing to do with personal gain. Bane’s belief was the playing out of a vision that would last much longer after he was gone. The belief behind Batman’s WHY was conjured at best.

When advising start-ups or taking a look at any new projects myself, the first thing that I am learning to ask is WHY. WHY does this project, opportunity, or company care more about the problem they’re solving and the solution their providing than everyone else? WHY am I willing to turn down other initiatives and potentially also successful endeavors to see this one through? WHY does this campaign towards something that others are also considering get their first and with more gusto?

If I can’t answer that question, I too will end up missing a vertebrae and exiled to a professional living hell until I find the strength to act first on belief and then out of confidence in that belief.

Jul 2012 02

Believe it or not, it’s halftime. The craziness that began 2012 has’t stopped for 6 months and now you are on the down hill side of this calendar year. Everything that you said, “This will happen in 2012″ that hasn’t, only has 26 weeks left to be accomplished.  The way this year will be remembered hangs in the balance and you’ve been given a moment here at halftime to make sure that you don’t let 2012 slip through your fingers.

Let’s think through your performance in the first half. You took some good shots, you push hard on some of the new ideas that you’d been tinkering with, and you even exploited those that stood in your way and made their defense look weak. But, you also took more time to get to the goal than you needed, your pace started great but was dragging by the time the end of the 2nd quarter rolled around, and you allowed others to walk all over you when it came time to block their blatant attempts at accelerating your defeat.

So right now, in this slow moment between halves when everyone else is sipping Gatorade and reliving their one highlight moment of the first half, this is the chance that you’ve been asking for to clean the slate from what was and take command of what’s to come. It’s right now that you can lock in on the strategies that worked in the first half and get rid of the ones that didn’t and the ones that held you down. Right now is all that matters because right now is all you have.

This year won’t be won out on the battlefield, this year will be won the place that all great victories are won: in the moments of preparation and commitment in the in between.

Hustle now or forever hold your peace.

Dec 2011 30

This isn’t 3rd grade where there is no such thing as a bad goal, there is. ”Being Happy” is a horrible goal.

The idea of happiness isn’t, but as a goal it is. How do you define “being happy?” When you have achieved that state, do you have to stay there? Or, it is a “more often than not” kind of thing? And, if so, how will you know for sure that you have achieved it? Will you write down the number of minutes each day you were able to keep yourself in that state of happiness?

In my post yesterday, I talked a little bit about the high level story lines that I’ve started to pull out from the unfiltered ramblings that I jot down when planning for the year ahead. But, I realized after getting some feedback (from you the reader, thanks!), that I left out how I determine if something will in fact make it from the hair brained idea phase to the committed and inked phase of the year.

I’ve had the chance to be a part of a lot of “goal setting” meetings, both professionally and personally with mastermind style roundtables. It is always amazing what you can learn about a person by the goals they share and the approach that they take to prioritizing what they think are the have-tos for the next year. But, in those meetings and roundtables, I’ve also hear a ton of really bad goals, like the previously mentioned “being happy.”

For me, in order for a goal to be counted as a legit commitment, it must pass the SAM test.

Significant: It has to be something that you don’t know exactly how it is going to happen and it is going to take your very best to continue to pull the pieces into place so that it can occur.

Attainable: In the time frame of the goal being set, in this case 2012, it has to be something that can be achieved. If not, you will end up failing and knowing that you are going to fail is never a good place to start.

Measurable: If you can’t precisely define when you have arrived and what steps and progress you are making along the way, how will you know your are getting closer? You must be able to tick of units of success as you go.

By having these checks and balances in place, I’ve been able to take big lofty ideas like “Being Happy” and boil them down to specific goals that aim towards the bigger idea AND pass the SAM test.

I had the chance to spend some time with Jeff Swartz, the former CEO of Timberland. In talking about goals he put it another way: “It has to be big enough to matter, but small enough to achieve.”

Happy Resoluting.