The days you will look back on will be the days that tested you. Business can be a rollercoaster ride. One minute you are up, the next you are down and out.
How well you walk through the fire to quote Charles Bukowski, will say a lot about you. If the ride isn't going as well as you want, you have remember that it is your ride. And you chose that ride.
If you can switch your mind set to think of obstacles as the thing that are going to make you different, refine your thinking and ultimately the very reason you will succeed. If you think of obstacles this way, you will change your life.
Adopt a simple life: Deal with each day one day at a time. Don’t dwell on the past. Don’t live in the future. Keep working in the now. Head down. Working on the thing that matters to you. Stay in the now.
Don’t spend your time moaning. Be thankful for each day. And enjoy the ride. It’s your ride.
You are the one with the hands on the handlebars.
Let My People Go Surfing: The Education of a Reluctant Businessman Yvon Chouinard (Penguin, 2006)
Start with Why: How Great Leaders Inspire Everyone to Take Action Simon Sinek (Penguin, 2011)
Small Giants: Companies That Choose to be Great Instead of Big Bo Burlingham (Penguin, 2007)
The Republic of Tea: The Story of the Creation of a Business, as Told Through the Personal Letters of Its Founders
Mel Ziegler, Patricia Ziegler, Bill Rosenzweig (Crown, Random House 1994)
Steve Jobs: The Exclusive Biography - Walter Isaacson (Little Brown, 2011)
The Lean Startup
Eric Ries (Crown, Random House, 2011)
The Synergist: How to Lead Your Team to Predictable Success Les McKeown
(Palgrave MacMillan, 2012)
Hackers & Painters: Big Ideas from the Computer Age - Paul Graham (O’Reilly, 2004)
Getting Things Done: How to Achieve Stress-free Productivity David Allen (Piatkus, 2002)
The 80/20 Principle: The Secret of Achieving More with Less Richard Koch (Nicholas Brealey Publishing, 2007)
The 4-Hour Work Week,
Timothy Ferriss (Vermilion, Random House, 2011)
Leaders Eat Last: Why Some Teams Pull Together and Others Don’t
Simon Sinek (Portfolio Penguin, 2014)
The Score Takes Care of Itself:
My Philosophy of Leadership
Bill Walsh (Portfolio Penguin, 2010)
Turn the Ship Around!: A True Story of Building Leaders by Breaking the Rules
L David Marquet
(Portfolio Penguin, 2013) Wooden on Leadership: How to
Create a Winning Organization
John Wooden (McGraw-Hill, 2005)
Who Moved My Cheese: An Amazing Way to Deal with Change in Your Work and in Your Life Spencer Johnson (Vermilion, Random House, 1999)
Insanely Simple: The Obsession That Drives Apple’s Success
Ken Segall (Portfolio Penguin, 2012)
A Technique for Producing Ideas
James W Young (Frontal Lobe Publishing, 2011)
The War of Art: Break Through the Blocks and Win Your Inner Creative Battles
Steven Pressfield (Black Irish Entertainment, 2012)
The Tao of Warren Buffett: Warren Buffett’s Words of Wisdom Mary Buffet & David Clark (Pocket Books, 2009)
How To Stop Worrying And Start Living
Dale Carnegie (Vermilion, Random House, 1993. First published 1948)
Turning Pro: Tap Your Inner Power and Create Your Life’s Work Steven Pressfield (Black Irish Entertainment, 2012)
Clarity: Clear Mind, Better Performance, Bigger Results Jamie Smart (Capstone, 2013)
The Power of Less: The 6 Essential Productivity Principels That Will Change Your Life
Leo Babauta (Hay House, 2009)
The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery (First published 1943)
Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind: Informal Talks on Zen Meditation and Practice, Shunryu Suzuki (Shambhala, 2005. First published 1970)
It’s Not How Good You Are, It’s How Good You Want To Be Paul Arden (Phaidon, 2003)
Winning the Story Wars: Why Those Who Tell and Live the Best Stories Will Rule the Future
Jonah Sachs (Harvard, 2012)
‘Trust Breeds Magic.’ Tina Roth Eisenberg, aka SwissMiss
‘You can’t get to wonderful without passing through alright.’ Bill Withers
‘The three most harmful addictions are heroin, carbohydrates, and a monthly salary.’ Fred Wilson
‘You can do anything, but not everything.’ David Allen
‘The more classic you can make something, the longer it will last.’ Paul Arden
‘Chase the work, and not the money. And the money will come.’ Paul Arden
‘The biggest investment you can make is in yourself not a house. ‘ Warren Buffet
‘The danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it ‘ Michelangelo
‘Be regular and orderly in your life, so that you may be violent and original in your work.’
‘Efficiency only matters if you don’t like what you’re doing.’
Adam Shand on building his own house
Do Book Company
Do Birth - A gentle guide to labour and childbirth - Caroline Flint
Do Disrupt -Change the status quo. Or become it - Mark Shayler
Do Grow - Start with 10 simple vegetables -Alice Holden
Do Improvise - Less push. More Pause. Better results A new approach to work (and life) Robert Poynton
Do Lead - Share your vision. Inspire others. Achieve the impossible - Les McKeown
Do Protect - Legal advice for startups -Johnathan Rees
Do Purpose - Why brands with a purpose do better and matter more -David Hieatt
Do Sourdough - Slow bread for busy lives - Andrew Whitley
Do Story - How to tell your story so the world listens - Bobette Buster
That is why sport is important. Whatever you do, take time out. Whether it’s a run, a walk, a bike ride, or daily meditation. The brain needs some rest. Work the body, and while the body is so busy doing its stuff, the brain switches off. You feel fresher physically and mentally. Feel the burn of sport.
There are no emails to send, no bills to pay, no awkward people conversations. You are free*. Sport takes the stress of the day away and leaves it far behind.
*Free with every run, every bike ride, every swim: You.
When you are involved in a startup, life can quickly go out of control. If you allow it to. Yes, there will be times when a deadline means burning the midnight oil. And yes, adrenaline is the fuel of startups but mostly because it is cheap. But not because it is the best fuel to build a long-term business.
So your job is to look after the team because they look after the business. So you have to make sure that those crazy times do not become the norm. You have to create a culture where people take their holidays, where late nights are the exception, where people eat well, sleep well, and use their time well. (Read David Allen’s Getting Things Done book. It is a secret weapon.)
Your team are more creative, think better, and much more fun to be around too,if you can create a culture of balance.
Great businesses are built on huge amounts of energy. Even more important than huge amounts of funding.
You can burn the candle at both ends for a while, but there comes a point where you get diminishing returns.
You job is to lead. Your job is to make decisions. Your job is to be a bundle of energy and enthusiasm.
It may sound boring, but if you are going to give your company its best chance of success, you need to get the amount of sleep that your body requires. There is no badge of honour for who is the most tired.
The problem with your business is that it matters to you.
And, oh boy, it can and will consume you. Every waking hour. Every sleeping hour. At home. At work. And the journey between the two.
That’s the deal. But you have to find ways to look after yourself. Because you look after lots of other people, who depend on you. Accept that working through the night is a rite of passage, and working weekends goes with the territory. But also accept that these can’t become the norm.
Tired? Go home. Come in fresh. Businesses are very good at running you. Don’t let it.
They do it while their day-dreaming out of the window of a more fun job. Once they find one, they take the more conventional way of leaving a company - the door.
People don’t leave companies for money. They say they do. But they don’t.
They leave emotionally long before they leave physically. They leave because they are not valued, they are not being challenged or feel part of something that matters to them. A central plank to all this discontent is they have stopped learning.
It’s your job to create a learning culture that will keep them emotionally connected. You have to keep their hearts in the business. Training is the best way I know to do that.
And it isn’t just training to do their job better. That’s standard stuff. But you will need to go beyond that to get people engaged.
You will need to send them on courses, even if that course is unrelated to what they do with you. The best companies see the whole person, and not just the little segment that they do for you.
In Startup mode you can’t hire all the team you want from day one. But you know who they are, right? You’ve been admiring their work for years.
So how can you get them on the team? Write to them. Show them pictures of their work in your scrapbook. And tell them your mission. And tell them the change you will make.
What you have to do is to build a virtual team. That is what you have to do. Go virtual.
Recently I was working with our graphic designer Nick Hand (Virtual Team Member) on the Yearbook for Hiut Denim Co. He came in with a book from a famous graphic designer and illustrator in New York (James Victore). I loved his work. His work was already in my scrapbooks. ‘We need to work with people as good as him,’ said Nick.
I was thinking, we don’t need to work with people like him. We need to work with him. So somehow I found out his email. And I wrote to him. I told him my town was going to make jeans again. And if we wanted to get everybody their jobs back we would have to be brilliant. And that meant we could only work with the best. So we had to work with him. He wrote back and said ‘I’m in’.* If I had looked at our budget, I would never have sent him the email.
*He also designed the cover for Do book.
Underfunded. No budgets for anything. Cash flow issues. You can't afford to work with the best. But then again, you can't afford not too.
I agree with the Real Madrid chairman: Expensive is cheap. His point is that buying a £70 million player was better value than buying a £10 million player. The Galacticos (as he calls them) sold more shirts, got more press and did more for the ‘Real Madrid’ brand around the world. The £10 million players did none of these things, so he deemed them expensive.
I am figuring you don’t have £70 million to burn on talent. But if you want to succeed, you will have to work with the best.
So whether it’s a website builder, a photographer, a designer, a hacker, tell them your small budget means they can have creative freedom. The one thing creative people want is to show the rest
of the world how creative they are. So you can’t give them lots of money, but you can give them lots of freedom. Let them fly. They live to fly.