Are You Ready?

Breaking-News-1I work in the frenetic world of television news (luckily it’s not the every-single-bit-of-information-is-breaking-news world of cable). While I’m no longer in the trenches of a daily broadcast, I remember the deadlines, the last minute changes, the real breaking news events that required us to shift into a very high gear and sometimes stay there for hours or days.

When the news was slow and predictable you could rest, but one of my managers would always ask, “are you ready?” The question would catch me off guard but the answer was always yes. Yes I was ready for breaking news, ready to spring into action, ready for the pressure, the intensity of the job.

So my question for you is, “are you ready?” Are you ready for the intensity of life, the sudden and unexpected turns life can take?

What are you doing to get ready? Are you being passive, waiting to react or are you being curious, trying new things, practicing? Following a single path to success isn’t enough any more. You have to branch out and explore the tributaries of life.

I was asked my advice on how to take a chance and follow a different path – my answer was to treat every new idea, every new adventure as a hobby. Don’t quit your day job, don’t rush into anything. Start small and try it out. If you enjoy it, if you find success you will be able to accelerate but if you fail, if you find it more difficult than you expected, stopping won’t be devestating.

Here’s an image I saw but I’d like to modify it a bit to fit the idea of being ready.

Definition of entrepreneurship

My change? Be ready: Avoid instant gratification now to exploit real opportunities as they come.


What are you doing to be ready? Share your thoughts below and get the conversation going.


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Gary Vaynerchuk and the Escalator Question

EscalatorPicWhen I found out I was interviewing Gary Vaynerchuk I had an opportunity to test a theory of mine. I believe that successful people, entrepreneurs in particular, like motion, would rather keep moving than stand still. They also don’t like other people getting in their way, blocking them from their goals.

I think successful people walk on escalators rather than stand. Gary confirmed that, sort of, but he also surprised me. Take a listen here:

Vaynerchuk EscalatorQuestion

It seems his default strategy is to walk on escalators but the surprising part was when he said that he stands when he’s late. That seemed odd to him (I think a lot of people would think it’s odd that he even gave it much thought, have you?). His belief is that he likes to be contrarian and I suggested that maybe, when he’s late, he needs that extra moment to collect himself, take a deep breath and know that those extra few seconds walking aren’t as important as those extra few seconds of calm.

The last point about the question is a bit less obvious but interesting and informative just the same; who thinks about how they interact with escalators? I don’t think normal people give that much thought. Gary and I do, however, and that says a lot about two traits we spoke of in the interview, curiosity and self-awareness.

Being curious means you look at things a little differently than other people, that what most people take for granted, you dissect to discover why. Being self aware means you are always assessing your actions, beliefs, and values, being just as curious about yourself as you are about others.

Do you walk on escalators? Do you prefer motion over stagnation? Are you self aware enough to answer those questions? Are you curious enough to discover your true habits? Please share in the comments below.

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Call it crazy but it’s also really cool

Imagine someone said to you I’m going to build creatures that walk the beach on their own every time the wind blows. There’s no need for this, there’s no market for this, but I’m going to do it just because I’m curious, because I want to see if I can do it.

You might call that crazy. I call it amazing.

No matter what you think other people will say, just do what excites you because it just might end up being really cool. And if it’s not that’s ok at least you had a good time!


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Be Curious

One common trait among successful people is curiosity but I believe a lot of people are not curious enough.

My day job at a television network has been as an instructor teaching the various levels of staff to use new technology. From cameras to satellite transmission, technology has made everything more interactive, more computer-like. A common theme I see among the students however is a lack of experimentation, a lack of curiosity.

Sony Z5uTake the example of a camera that has several variables controlling exposure, the brightness of the image. I see students change one variable and, when they don’t get the desired effect, they often stop or give up. There are other options but instead of trying them out, instead of experimenting, they simply stop.

My innate curiosity leads me to touch and change more things than I probably should but that’s not a bad thing. Experimentation is necessary for learning especially in a classroom setting and yet so many of the students are unwilling to risk messing up that they never get it right.

I see a lot of people in life who are afraid to try new things to take a risk. An entrepreneur you meet in my book, Scott Loughmiller, says that people often “see massive risk where there is only moderate, and no risk where there is a significant amount.” Most people are poor risk managers.

Successful people take risks but manage them so that one mistake doesn’t derail the whole project. Successful people are curious and touch all the buttons and change all the dials in an effort to understand and to learn. So be curious! That risk isn’t as big as you think!

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