3 Fearless Ways To Stop Double-Crossing Your Core Purpose

spy_vs_spy_wallpaper_2560x1024_by_zarious

I consider myself a life long student of those who came before me, both personally and professionally. Success is often hard to teach, quite simply because circumstances and timing are hard to replicate – but they do, however, give us a chance to take away core values and principles, two things that rarely change in the formula for success.

Many entrepreneurs make decisions based on a mix of gut and rationale. Entrepreneurs must keep their creative intent and core purpose intact at all times, even when presented with opportunities that may sound unattainable or even too good to be true. Keeping your core purpose will enable you to not only enjoy the ride from start to finish, but also align what you do with how you do it!

 Chase Jarvis- Marc Ecko

I recently watched a video that Chase Jarvis did with famous clothing designer and media mogul, Marc Ecko, who has created a billion dollar empire. As I listened to the video, one part of the interview jumped out at me, and I haven’t been able to stop thinking about it. He discussed how he made some big mistakes when his brand reached the gates of success. Because he was riding a tidal wave of success, he started to lose focus on what was important to him, and he started to make decisions that nearly crippled his company.

He explained that he ‘double crossed’ his creative intent – which was why he started the business in the 1st place. Basically, he got away from the values and energy that made the company successful in the beginning. Once he got back to that place, his passion and ultimately his success was back in play.

Here are the 3 Be’s that will ensure you don’t double-cross your own creative intentions, and help you lead a life and business worth getting up for.

 1- Be The Gate Keeper

The only person that can insure your dreams and goals are met is YOU. Your vision is very specific and vivid as to how you see it become reality. Obviously I’m not saying you will not have to make adjustments and some compromises, but the essence must stay intact.

As entrepreneurs we’re always faced with decisions and opportunities that may ‘double cross’ our true intent, but we must remember that we are the gatekeepers and we determine what goes out and what comes in. If we abandon the gates, then we become what everyone else wants us to be – not what we want to be.

 2- Be More Selfish

I know the word ‘selfish’ has a bad meaning to it, but it shouldn’t. As the saying goes, you simply can’t please everyone, and if you do, you wont mean anything to anybody

So How do you differentiate yourself, if you do? … and If you’re not doing it for yourself, then whom are you doing it for?

It’s your dream and you will be living it everyday, so don’t get caught up trying to please everyone and finding out one day that you are living other peoples dreams. As Simon Sinek says, ‘Connect with people that believe what you believe,’ and you will be happier, and those that you work with will be to.

3- Be Intellectually Honest

Deciding to be more ‘selfish’ doesn’t mean to stop being smart – especially regarding how you assess yourself. It’s easy to evaluate others but ourselves – extremely difficult. As hard as you may try, you can’t lie to yourself and believe it.  True success comes when you are able to pursue the truth and not let your personal beliefs interfere. We can all be accused of being so head strong that we would rather be right than entertain something that conflicts with our beliefs. There’s no learning from that rigid and ‘Mr. I know I’m right” position, and even worse, there’s no growth from it either.

There’s nothing wrong with being stubborn, but be open and smart enough to hear and observe things that can make you better. Being the gatekeeper allows us to filter the noise (the bad stuff) from the things that add value and strengthen (the good stuff) us.

Don’t be afraid or fearful of being more selfish – it can be good as long as it’s not toxic, so don’t get carried away. Use it to stay focused and on the path.

Work Hard, Work Smart & Stay Hungry

 

Gary

The Startup Entrepreneur’s Obsession To Be Perfect

Hustle Branding - obsession to be perfect

About a month ago, Gary and I were having a conversation with a business partner of ours about a project we have been working on that has progressed a great deal and gained significant momentum that now seems to be circling the runway in a prolonged holding pattern.

Truth is, we have done a tremendous amount of work on the project, however, I began to sense we were starting to over-do it and over-think it to the point that it was reaching a point of diminishing returns.

This is not uncommon when startups try to achieve perfection…

Trying To Be Perfect Before You Begin

There is only so much you can do in the pre-market phase of a new startup. In my opinion, we have taken this new venture about as far as we can possibly go in this pre-market phase and we are starting to try to solve issues that we have no idea will happen until we first bring it to market. I told one of our partners, “we are trying to be perfect. As you know, perfect is the enemy of the good.”  To my surprise, he didn’t know what that meant, despite the fact that he admitted he had heard it a number of times, many of those from me.

To me, perfection is a 4-Letter word because to a perfectionist, everything is a failure. Why? Because we are never perfect. Ever. It just doesn’t happen… and even if it did it would be very sad, as there would be no room for improvement.

Do you remember those video games where you mastered the most advanced level? What happened? … You stopped playing it because once you mastered it there was nowhere to go! In life and business, you never master anything, you are never perfect and there is no such thing as an expert . The best you can be, in my opinion, is great.

Great vs Perfect

People need to understand that there is a huge difference between being perfect at something compared to being great or even the best at something. In my last post, I mentioned that I am re-reading (via Audible) Jim Collin’s, Good to Great. One of the 3 parts of the good to great circle is that a company must be the absolute best at what they do. I am in 100% agreement, however that does not mean they are perfect. There is a big difference. You need to understand that.

Note: To view all articles in this blog on startups, click startup advice

This project that Gary, myself and our two other partners has taken up a tremendous amount of our time. I am fine with that because I am 100% behind it in both belief and commitment (they go hand in hand) but, like I said, in my opinion, we are trying to be perfect, and perfect just ain’t gonna happen.

If you look at the greatest entrepreneurs and investors, they will tell you that the biggest problem companies have is trying to get their product perfect before launch.

Companies that do succeed are never perfect. They come to market with a good and often great (but imperfect) product or service, and then consistently fine-tune the product or service over time AFTER their product or service goes to market. I am convinced this is the correct mindset.

Note: To view articles for entrepreneurs starting a business, click help for entrepreneurs 

Fine Tune

If you are currently creating a product or service and you are trying to be perfect, my strong suggestion is that you stop what you are doing, take a look at what you have created, and see what needs to be addressed now, and what can be worked on later after you go to market. The truth is, there will always be mistakes and there will always be failures of some type or another.

I have had so many failures I literally wrote a book on it. I even started a series on ‘failing up’ in Forbes with David Williams & Mary Michelle Scott called, The Lemon-aide Interviews which is all about what we learn from our mistakes. In first interview, we had Shark Tank’s Daymond John to provide his feedback on what he has learned from his mistakes. As he said in the interview, “If you’re not making mistakes, you are not making moves!”

You can visit the column, here.

Being a sports guy, I’m going to use basketball as an example…

The 3 Kings

When the Miami Heat drafted Lebron, Wade, and Bosh it sounded perfect. The truth, however was that, although it seemed they had all the talent to win, they had to get on the court and start figuring out how this 3 man mechanism was going to work in the way Pat Riley envisioned.

Truth is, they needed a little bit of time to get on the court and figure it out. In fact, they couldn’t even figure it out in the first full season. They fine-tuned the radio until it finally sounded perfect… but you and I should know at this point… there is no such thing as perfect, just great.

Have a great day! (pun intended)

 

MJ

 

The Necessity Of Discipline vs. The Necessity Of Distraction

Screen-Shot-2013-11-07-at-8.55.58-AM

Recently, I have started to go back to doing something that always inspired me. After I lost my first business in 1996, I buried myself inside of Barnes & Noble and devoured every book I could get my hands on that involved inspirational stories of success in order to motivate me and get me out of my depressed state of mind. It worked.

These days, fortunately or unfortunately, I don’t have the time to read at my leisure. While I am not depressed anymore, I like to keep up on books, especially ones that relate to business strategy. I was talking to Gary a few months ago in our normal daily morning meeting and he mentioned another quote from another book he read. I had been meaning to ask him, “How in the world do you have the time to read books?”… Being his business partner, I know any moment away from our business he spends with his wife and kids. It simply didn’t make sense… Enter AUDIBLE. As it turns out, Gary listens to audiobooks every time he is going from point A to point B (and not on the phone with me!). I said to myself, I can do that too… so that is exactly what I have been doing.

My New Best Friend

These past few months since we had the conversation, I signed up for Audible and have gone through 5 books thus far, some of which I read a number of years ago and some I am tackling for the first time. They are all strategy books; Contagious, Made To Stick, Tipping Point, David & Goliath and Good To Great. These days, whenever I am traveling from point A to point B and am not on the phone, I am always listening to an audiobook. To me, audio books are insanely productive to people who don’t have the time to read. They are also extremely helpful for people who read extremely slowly; like me.

Culture of Discipline

I am currently listening (revisiting) Good To Great by Jim Collins. While there are many things that I absolutely love about the book, one of my biggest takeaways is what he calls a culture of discipline. That culture of discipline is broken into 3 components; disciplined people, disciplined thoughts and disciplined actions.

I frequently talk in the N2ITIV Blog about issues I have had with my own discipline and productivity (and/or lack thereof). The simple truth of the matter is that there are some things in business that I am pretty good at and some things I have to admit I truly suck at .

Distractions

This past week kind of got by me quickly so I guess you can say my agenda kind of kicked my ass. While I did take care of a number of things, I could have done way better to say the least. The biggest problem I have is with distractions…at least so I thought

About a month ago, Gary shot a video module that touched on this called, 8 Reasons Why You Need To Hire a Brand Specialist . In this module he mentioned some statistics that made a lot of sense as it relates to distractions.

These statistics really explain everything to me. Distractions will kill your productivity if you let it. It’s no wonder why Jim Collins found that a culture of discipline is a major component that makes companies go from good to great. You will see, however, that, to an entrepreneur, distraction becomes a necessity.

Discipline meets Distraction

At the end of every day, I try go the gym as I need it for the sake of my sanity, as I normally feel like I have fought a losing battle as there is always a ton of things I had scheduled and haven’t done. I take my disheveled mind and body to the gym and pound the heavy bag until all of the chaos is out of my mind and body and I actually feel relaxed.

What I am realizing is that, on average, one day a week I am actually OK and not out of sorts the way I am the rest of the week. This is typically the day that I will not allow interruptions. It’s what I call my catch up day. I stick to my agenda undisturbed and at the end of the day I actually feel great….

The problem, however, is that I am pretty much responsible for the operations side of the business. Currently, I have two businesses. One is solely owned by Gary and I. The other is owned by Gary, myself and two other partners. I am responsible for making sure everyone is up to speed on everything at all times, so it is difficult not to get distracted because each person has different wants and needs… so that one day a week that I use to catch up, normally is at the expense of other things that didn’t get done because I wasn’t corresponding with my team.

Is There Really An Answer?

So what’s the answer? After all, I’ve been at this long enough that I should know. One thing I can do is not let any distractions throw me off course and just focus on my work… but I just told you how that is a problem. The other thing I can do is take the distractions and accomplish far less and feel out of sorts.

I believe the answer is that there is no answer. It’s called being an entrepreneur. To an entrepreneur, distractions must happen. They are required, I have no choice.

So there you have it. There is no answer. It is give and take. What I try to do is find the best balance I can. The more on the front lines you are in your business, the more you will be distracted, that is the simple fact. Once you understand and come to terms with the fact that this is the bed we made, it becomes far easier to agree to sleep in it.

This is my path. I chose it. I never have enough money to do everything I want to do and I never have enough time to do it either. Personally, it keeps me hungry and on my toes. I have no complaints… and if I did, who would listen to me anyway?

Have a great day!

MJ