Category Archives: business advice

Louis CK on Boredom

“I’m bored” is a useless thing to say. I mean, you live in a great, big, vast world that you’ve seen none percent of. Even the inside of your own mind is endless, it goes on forever, inwardly, do you understand? The fact that you’re alive is amazing, so you don’t get to say “I’m bored.” – Louis CK

Are you bored? How can you get back some of the amazement that Louis CK is talking about?

What is the most amazing thing that happened to you this week? If not amazing, think surprising, pleasurable, or even just nice?

From a professional standpoint, if you recognize your life is amazing, that gratitude is a career advantage.

Jerry Seinfeld on Growth

To me, if life boils down to one thing, it’s movement. To live is to keep moving. – Jerry Seinfeld

Are you moving or in a rut?

What is one small change you can make to your routine – even a different route to work, a different go-to meal for breakfast, a 10-minute refresh of one small space in your home?

From a professional standpoint, it comes down to keeping your skills, expertise and network updated. If you don’t need to update your resume with anything new in the last year, you’re not growing professionally. Review these seven reasons why your career has stalled, and resolve to keep it moving.

Lucille Ball on Self-Love

Love yourself first and everything else falls into line.  You really have to love yourself to get anything done in this world – Lucille Ball

The first step of any goal is believing you can do it and you deserve it.

If you don’t have that confidence, can you move forward anyway and let your actions build your belief?

This follows for professional goals especially. Before you can convince your dream employer to hire you or your current boss to promote you or your ideal customer to buy from you, you need to convince yourself. Confidence attracts, and there are ways to become more confident even if you don’t feel that way right now.

Lily Tomlin on Slowing Down

For fast-acting relief, try slowing down – Lily Tomlin

Such an excellent reminder not to be so harried!

We all know that person who exudes a sense of calm, that grace under pressure. And we all like to be around that person!

From a professional standpoint, executive presence requires that you don’t rush around. To be at your best, also requires regular rest, enough sleep, and actually taking your vacation. You need space to be creative. And, yes, you can take time off and not fall completely behind in your work.

George Carlin on Guilt

Don’t take guilt trips. Take a trip to the mall, even to the next county; to a foreign country but NOT to where the guilt is – George Carlin

Are you picking Should’s over Dreams? Do you feel guilty that your ideal day is doing nothing, that your next career move doesn’t mean a raise, that you prefer a leisurely job over training for marathons?

Make choices about your goals based on your values, interests and needs right now. Don’t let someone else guilt you into poor choices.

From a professional standpoint, don’t assume your true passions are impractical. You can translate your interests, whatever they are, to a viable career option.

Joan Rivers on Persistence

If I can’t make it through one door, I’ll go through another door – or I’ll make a door. Something terrific will come no matter how dark the present. – Joan Rivers

Are you feeling stuck on a particular goal? Are you only trying one door? What are 5 other doors to entry?

If you can’t think of alternatives, convene 5 of your friends from different parts of your life. Have a pizza and beer brainstorming party. (Maybe get their ideas before serving too much beerJ)

If it’s a career goal, there are multiple paths into your dream job. Or you can make your own dream job by launching a business. Persistence pays off.

Will Ferrell on Compensation

Aren’t we all striving to be overpaid for what we do? – Will Ferrell

Do you begrudge a colleague for being overpaid? Are you afraid to ask for more for fear of seeming greedy?

It’s better for everyone when you are paid for your value.  You don’t get resentful at doing the work, and your employer or client keeps you happy and continues to get their great results. And because most people are shy about asking, you typically should stretch and ask for more.

Be prepared to promote yourself and negotiate.

Barry Beck on Blame

We have only one person to blame, and that’s each other. — Barry Beck, NY Ranger

I love quotes that make me laugh. Seriously, though, I love the nudge towards blaming other people. Yes, some people point fingers too often. But many people I know do the opposite and don’t blame enough. Yes, I just said that:  sometimes it’s ok to point fingers and blame.

I live in a Type A, frenetic city where many people are so self-starting and so determined that they internalize every tough outcome and assume they can turn anything around given enough effort. That’s a great mindset to have when it causes you to work hard, push past failure, and persist. But sometimes it helps to not assume you can fix things and look for reasons to blame so you can avoid these situations altogether – the toxic colleague who should never be trusted, the credit-hungry boss who should never get your best ideas, the energy-draining friend whose calls you should screen out.

Sometimes it’s not your fault and you don’t have to improve yourself or change what you’re doing.

Let It Ride on Luck

You’ve got to place a bet every day, otherwise you might be walking around lucky and not know it.  —  Character played by Richard Dreyfuss in the movie Let It Ride 

I don’t feel like I’m a lucky person. I don’t win at raffles or the casino. But if I really itemize over my lifetime the chance opportunities that have led to something great, then I realize how lucky I really am. For example, I met my now business partner when I was a teenager, when I interned for her over 20 years ago. A chance meeting begets a business? That’s lucky. Apparently, even someone like me who doesn’t “win” in the traditional gaming sense wins other things.

Do you feel lucky? If not, how can you be sure? When was the last time you took an accounting of all the times luck played a part in your success, big and small?

Knowing that chance presents itself outside of lottery tickets and contests, be on the lookout for other forms of luck. What types of bets can you place – an email to someone you want to meet, a sharing of an idea that you have been chewing on?

For more on placing bets, I recommend the book, Little Bets by Peter Sims. Written for the business set to encourage experimental innovation, the subtitle is “How Breaktrhough Ideas Emerge From Small Discoveries” and this applies to personal discovery as well.

How to Be a More Nimble Entrepreneur – Purple Clover

In my business advice post for Purple Clover, I share tips for the executive-to-entrepreneur career change. There are habits, beliefs and behaviors from your corporate days that you do not want to carry over when you launch your business:

Most people recognize that traditional employment and entrepreneurship are different and therefore require different skills and temperaments. But surely, the corporate experience helps, right? You have extensive networks — you might even be able to sell into your former employers. You have skills and expertise — these could be your first offerings. You have the savvy that comes with navigating different environments — and therefore the savvy to navigate the different clients you might call on. However, there are also behaviors and beliefs that might be a holdover from your corporate days that no longer serve you when you strike out on your own.

“Sales is someone else’s job”

A former corporate colleague of mine who went into business for herself proclaimed assertively, “I don’t sell.” When I asked how she expected to get clients, she mentioned that she knew enough people from her corporate networks to keep her busy. That worked for a few months. Last I heard, she hired a copywriter for her site and was figuring out how to explain what she does.

In corporate America, you could focus on what you did best, and someone else was selling. If you were in sales, you could focus on that while someone else took care of marketing, finance, operations, etc. When you’re in business for yourself, you take on all jobs, especially sales. Even when you expand your team and can outsource functions, you still have to know enough about each area and be active enough in each to maintain oversight and quality control. Even when you can bring on a salesperson, you will still be the backstop in selling as no one will advocate for your business like you will. Whatever business you launch, you are in sales.

Read more Big Corporate behaviors and beliefs to avoid at Purple Clover: How to Be a More Nimble Entrepreneur.