January 09, 2013
Having a 'pro account' for life

A post by Sean Bonner has been bouncing around my head for a bit. In his post, he talks about looking around and thinking that everyone else has things figured out. That they had "cracked the code" or "have a pro account or something" on life in general.

I used to feel the same way. I'd wonder how I would ever get up to speed to what was going on around me in the world.

The truth dawned on me over time.

First, the group of guys I went to college with grew up and slowly started taking positions of power in the business and the military. We'd kept in touch since living in the fraternity house together. The same guys I watched do stupid, foolish, and occasionally felonious stunts, were now responsible for important things. Seeing a guy that put his motorcycle back together so poorly it literally caught fire was now flying a $25+ million fighter plan was a bit strange.

And then it dawned on me that maybe there weren't a lot of people out there that did everything right in life and had life 'scoped' completely.

Once I moved up the corporate ladder, I started working with the people that decide what and how you see things on television and in the movie theater. Surely, these people must be no nonsense, super sharp, focused individuals. I mean, how else do you steer a Fortune 50 company correctly? It didn't take me long to realize that the vast majority of people making the 'big' decisions in business weren't all that different than you and me. Some liked facts, some liked numbers, some liked their gut, but none of them I saw ever take everything into account like you might read in an MBA textbook. A lot of the decisions I saw get made were because they were the ones that helped them avoid blame.

But because of their title, most viewed their decisions as 'brilliant'. That is until they were ejected from the Company, upon which a new 'brilliant' individual would take their place.

My point is that you have it within you to be as good as anyone you admire. Even if you can't see it, others can see your potential to do great things. The trick is looking at your strengths rather than looking at your weaknesses. I'm not saying you should ignore your weakness, just that you shouldn't get caught up obsessing on how someone is better at something as you.

I guarantee you that you have a skill or ability that someone you admire is jealous of and wishes they could have.

I've only met a few people that were truly inspiring, innovative, and 'game-changing' in business and life for that matter. They all have the same basic characteristics.

Passion - They were driven by an ineffable passion to push forward. Not money, status, or reward, but by the prospect that they could move the needle in their field, even if only a little.

Openness - They wanted to hear what others thought. Not to refute or argue with them, but to listen to alternatives. They never lost sight of their goals, but were truly open to different paths to reach it.

Optimism - They are not cynical people. They see failure and problems as inevitable parts of the road forward. Rather than focusing on who is to blame for the tree that feel across the trail, they are busy climbing over it and leave a rope behind to help others get over it as well.

If there is anything we could all do to head toward having a 'pro account' in life, it is to follow our passions, listen to others with an open mind, and stay positive in the face of adversity.

Posted by michael at January 09, 2013 02:36 PM


You, sir, are full of sage wisdom today. Thanks.

Posted by: Ken [] on January 9, 2013 2:54 PM

Inspiring, Michael!

Posted by: Tim E [] on January 15, 2013 4:43 AM
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