When it comes to acting the part and creating a new illusion, it’s not just empty advice that I hand YOU guys – it’s something that I’ve learned to live over and over again in my own life too. For instance, I came to a crossroad several years ago with a start-up where my cofounder and I had some serious disagreements. First, he wanted to be the CEO, a new position for him, and I reluctantly agreed because he had deep knowledge of the industry we were targeting. I became the president and chief technical officer (CTO). Then we had a clash over both managerial style and treatment of people. I felt he wanted to under-communicate with our staff, telling them the minimum they needed to know in order to keep them in the dark, simply so he’d have the upper hand. I wanted to keep everyone in the loop, even over-communicating, while the team was in the formative stages. Bear in mind that I had done the usual entrepreneurial thing: worked without salary for a year, clocked 80+ hours a week, and made significant personal sacrifices. I invested nothing short of my heart and soul. And still it wasn’t enough. The environment didn’t work for me. I couldn’t fix what was broken, and the board wouldn’t help me either. A day came when I had to look in the mirror and admit defeat. I had to bail on an illusion that meant a lot to me: cofounder and CTO of this particular start-up. Moving on was a wrenching decision, but it was the right one.
The good news is that I moved on and started another company. The better news is I kept in touch with the company I’d left, offered help when asked, and ultimately was able to sell some of my stock to a new investor. It was a multi-million-dollar financial gain, and I was also able to respect myself by leaving a bad situation -- and to actively respect the company by continuing to help out from a healthy distance.
My greatest challenge when working with businesses is getting them to change course after they’ve poured tremendous resources (i.e., time, money, expertise, heart, etc., etc., etc.) into making something happen that isn’t working. Remember: an illusion is something you use to change the reality around you. A delusion is something that prevents you from seeing the reality around you. The companies suffering from delusions prefer to die a slow death by staying with a losing proposition rather than accepting the risk that comes with being a quick-change artist.
The bottom line that we all have to ask ourselves is this: Are we creating a new and amazing illusion every day, moving toward our biggest and most inspiring lives and success stories, or are we being orphaned and crippled under mind-numbing delusions. THAT question is worth a good conversation with a mentor, eh?
On September 18-20, I’ll be personally mentoring a very small group of business builders at my weekend long BAI workshop. Twenty lucky participants will get to work with me personally. I don’t know where you’re at with your business, but if you think you’re up to the challenge and ready to make the commitment of both the time and the funds to attend ($1,997 early bird special), email firstname.lastname@example.org to save your spot.