Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Superman wasn't such a bad guy

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If I used this past week as an indicator of the amount of stuff that I have on my plate, my ass-o-meter would be off the chart. And the funny thing, I really don't seek out the new stuff much any more. Stuff finds me. I am very busy and reaching the point of no return. Yep, Ima sitting on that wave again, the sweet spot, where things can either crash down, fall away or if I am good enough, ride it in. The sweet spot is a good place to be but a bit stressful. I chose this way of life.

An old boss of mine, whom I choose not to reveal, told me once on the way back from a managers meeting...

apparently I spoke up when I shouldn't have

...we were in this baddass BMW 745 coming down Interstate 70 from an account out West. He said, "Ralph...you must think you are Superman, you're not". I said, "No, I am not superman, but I think I may be Pfoodman".

And that was the start of it. Soon I would be my own boss with all the responsibilities of self motivation, self discipline, vision and decision making. The conversation didn't last long and I didn't have to ask what he meant by it, because I didn't care. My former boss had a good company and his business model was similar to ours, but it was in the old school kind of way with old school methods of motivating employees. I learned a lot from him and played a role in getting it off the ground. But the vision was somebody else's, and the style of management, in my opinion, antiquated. It was only a matter of time before I became maverick enough to get slapped down pretty hard. I was fortunate to have experienced this. It changed who I would become. It was one of the last conversations I would have with a boss.

As an entrepreneur one finds out this way; the realization that you cannot work for anyone else and/or any other organization again under standards pre-determined. A boss or supervisor often wants you to know your place, to do what you are told, to focus time and energy on what you are told, and sometimes and in my case...know when to shut up. It means that you might finally have found (after being in the fog) the ceiling and the walls of your conventional work aptitude. If you are an entrepreneur, you will need to get used to it or move on, soon.

Confined, imprisoned, relegated: Words that described how I felt.

It didn't matter whose company it was, it was bound to happen. Sitting in my boss's seventy thousand dollar 745 on the way down the highway was as good a time as any to "get it". I realized then that I would need to embark on a journey, the only restriction being that of my own motivation, values and personal resources.

Now here is the paradox... How can one be aggressive, win, overcome, and keep a value system intact while doing so? When I first got in to business, it was a bitter and somewhat ruthless experience timed just right and at the expense of a whole lot of personal relationships. When it was time to strike, I struck hard and it paid off. It was hostile. But was that really me? I am not sure, but I am not asking for forgiveness or for anyone to feel sorry for me. I try and balance Karma whenever possible.

It goes without saying that there are things that you have to do in order to make it over the humps, the startup, the cash flow issues, the competitive situations. You can choose to win, or you can choose to roll the dice. There are tough decisions to be made and sometimes relationships come and go. You give up a thing or two when being an entrepreneur. I can only describe the feeling as being an actor in a play when being aggressive, a performer in a movie, with a role and a storyline. I already know how the story plays out, but I never feel like I play the villain. There is always a moral of the story and always a happy ending.

And yes, we have to perform.

So we over compensate when our values are questioned, if damage takes place. Damage referencing the actions that we take as opportunities arise, sometimes going against our system, sometimes offsetting somebody else's condition, this sucks. We compensate by the creative use of social platforms and other enhanced values that we seek to develop along the way, sometimes of the unconventional nature. Over time, the business becomes not so much about the money (of course money is important), but about the advancement of our platforms, our advocacy's, charities and opinions, while providing stability for our clients and employees, our families. It becomes more about the long lasting legacy, an on-going connecting of the dots. Not a build-up-and-sell-model. The business becomes about story telling, the family of people within our organization changing the world by doing their thing. Nobody gets reprimanded for speaking up. Everybody is superman.

So you have to want to change the world if you want to be in business. It sucks that you have to take a hit, take the chances, leverage your resources, go to the ceiling with your own opinions and eventually strike out in order to get what you want. This is the discomfort of business and it takes broad shoulders to fend off the naysayers. There is paradox in the good and bad. Superman dealt with a ton of that stuff. Ifyouknowhatimtalkinbout.

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