Probably the hardest thing for an entrepreneur to do is nothing. Yea, some people will have to read that again. Others won’t believe it and say, “Who can not do nothing?”
After I sold Fat Atom in March of 2017, I was at a low. Again, a paradox I know. After working tirelessly since September of 1999, 18 years of 60+ hours weeks, countless headaches, employee issues, close to financial ruin not once, but twice and the ups and downs of getting, keeping and losing clients…and all of a sudden I thought had no meaning.
If you haven’t been in that situation before, let me describe it like this. It’s like you are a race car driver driving at 230 mph and you lock of the brakes and your car stops. You get out of the car and hand someone the keys. The next day you wake up, and you don’t have anything to drive. Sure you are still a race car driver, but without a car.
Back to my story.
So I get a check, they get a business to run. I wake up the day after the sale of my business and what do you think I do? I go to the office of course. I still own the building and still have an office there…seems logical right? Well that doesn’t last long. Employees still came to me with questions. What should we do about this client? Where are we at with that prospect? Why aren’t the new owners doing it the way you did it? I could tell very quickly I needed to not be close to the business….but it’s all I have known. Hence the problem.
So what transpires next? We decide to sell our house, move to NC, buy a much bigger house, sell our little boat, buy a much bigger boat and start 2 new businesses all within the first 6 months after selling our business. Damn it to hell if I could go back in time.
What advice would I give myself?
Easy. BE STILL.
Take a vacation. Relax. Focus on doing nothing. Clear your mind. Dream.
BUT DON’T ACT.
Selling a business is a lot like divorce. It is a major life changing event. You wouldn’t go out and buy a sports car, get a new girlfriend and buy a timeshare the day after the papers are signed…or at least you shouldn’t. And you shouldn’t do anything after you sell your business.
You need time to reflect.
I try to always look forward and live a life without regrets. I wish someone would have come along side me at the crucial time and hit me with a 2×4 over the head….saying now do nothing…you earned it.
I attended a seminar by Dr. Paul Schempp, where he explored the science behind making good decisions. I was reviewing my notes from this today, as I always like going back after having let the material digest a while, to extrapolate the main points. His work is based on a 20 year study… here you go.
“People who make good decisions avoid making bad ones.” Seems logical right? I mean if you don’t make bad decisions, then either you aren’t making them or you are making good ones. But how do you avoid making bad ones? I broke this down into two groups, one I call foundational and the other is emotional.
Then foundational areas that trip people up are:
1) Biases – Using things you know, that you favor in persuading you in a direction that if the bias was there, you would not otherwise go
2) Inexperience – This is a hard one! We all want to think we know a lot, but making a decision that you haven’t had to make before is difficult
3) Limited Info – Not having enough facts to make a good decision can lead to making a bad one
4) Over Confidence – Many of us feel like we know what’s best or that we are bold decision makers… which can also lead to bad decisions
Emotional areas that when experienced, you should avoid making decisions:
1) Anger – This is an easy one. Do any good decisions get made when you are truly angry?
2) Fear – Another easy one, but sometimes hard to detect until after the decision was made… the ol’ hindsight thing
3) Sadness – A hard one to recognize. Making decisions when your mental state is out of balance is never good… see a trend?
4) Disgust – This was a fun one for me to think about. Have I ever made a decision when I have been disgusted?
5) Guilt – Another hindsight emotion. In the moment, this maybe hard to detect… be vigilant.
Dr. Schempp’s overall premise is that we make logical, rational decisions when we are calm. He states, “When you are in a state of excitability, your brain does not allow “x” to flow to the frontal part of your brain. Sorry about the “x” thing, I literally could not write fast enough to keep up with him… it is some chemical though 🙂
Lastly, he concluded that “Fight or Flight” moments want you to make a fast decision… which seems logical. Who wants to ponder the many options when being chased by a lion? Recognizing the foundational and emotional areas where bad decisions are made and just eliminating making decisions when in those areas will definitely make you a better decision maker, without even making a decision.
Learn more about Dr. Schempp here – http://www.performancemattersinc.com/
Learn more about how I can help your organization make better marketing decisions here – https://www.think-b.com/c-liason/
I typically write a post the day after the big game, where I analyze the commercials that the ad gods deemed worthy to spend millions on. After some thought, I decided it wasn’t worth it. Yes, the biggest day of ad spend in one place, on one network, is not worthy of further review. Why? Because it’s my blog and I said so. Ok, the real reason is I wasn’t happy with the quality of content. I was tired after the first quarter of seeing the blathering commercials, all seeming to be the same… humorless, pandering and meh.
So in place of my post game commercial analysis, I thought it might be interesting to look at something else. I was wandering around the internet, sometimes a dangerous thing, but I ended up on a spam content website that had articles that you click to read, and then take you through a “next” workflow to read the article, all to increase page views on their website, so they can charge more money for advertising. ANYWAY, what caught my eye the most was the words this company used in its headlines. There were hundreds of articles and I started to see a pattern in the usage of words. Why should we care what they write? Well, they write to attract the attention of the people who have the shortest attention spans of all, web users without an agenda. Here are a list of the words that I saw used the most: Shady, Tragic, Strange, The Truth (or The Dark Truth), Nasty, Proof, Hilarious and Untold.
When you are writing, of course, the number one rule is to keep your reader top of mind; what they want to hear, tone, etc. This website is doing that, but it has to grab your attention quickly… hence the word choice in the headlines. Check it out for yourself… I think it is very interesting when you look with a different set of eyes! <Click Here To Be Redirect To The Shady Side Of the Internet, or The Tragic Untold Truth of Internet Journalism >
Ever hear something and it just resonates with you? The way a song sounds? The voice of a loved one? Today in a meeting, a prospect recited a James Michener quote to me. I have never heard it before and to be honest, I haven’t heard of Michener. Well stupid me… the guy was a great American writer. He wrote 40+ books over his career, with his most popular being Tales of the South Pacific, which was later made into a movie. Michener is attributed with many quotes, but the one I love goes like this:
“The master in the art of living makes little distinction between his work and his play, his labor and his leisure, his mind and his body, his information and his recreation, his love and his religion. He hardly knows which is which. He simply pursues his vision of excellence at whatever he does, leaving others to decide whether he is working or playing. To him he’s always doing both. ” Do you make a distinction between your work or play? Is your labor your leisure? Is love and your religion synonymous? Lastly, do you leave others to decide whether you are working or playing? As for me, I am doing both.
I Read some good quotes in a local publication and thought I would share them….luck you.
1) Don’t apply rules of reason to unreasonable people. Resist the temptation to assume everyone is like you. They are not.
2) To the one who understands, no explanation is necessary. To the one who doesn’t, no explanation will suffice.
3) A prudent person sees trouble and seeks refuge. The simple keep going and suffer for it.
4) Stop finding reasons why something won’t work and start looking for reasons why something will work. Life is WAY more fun if you think like this.