When Compromise is a Bad Idea

I chatted with two  individuals last week and I was struck by how different their accomplishments are. This observation gave me pause because I couldn’t quite figure out why the variance. Here are two very bright women with clear goals, talents, and ambitions. Each has had a boatload of challenges – some that require more resilience than most people can muster up.

Why was one person able to bounce back where the other woman couldn’t. You may think that the two people are so different that how could we draw any conclusions at all. Point taken. That said, one thing stuck out in my mind: the difference between success and failure (as each woman defined it for herself) came from how much the person compromised on her dreams.

In most cases, compromise is a good thing – whether it’s with our family, friends, and/or colleague. Yet when we compromise what we truly want out of fear, it’s a bad idea. The result is less than satisfactory.

So instead of adjusting our goals to not be scared, consider a different approach. Keep the big dream, but create a tiny action that moves you toward that dream and doesn’t freak you out. Then you have the motivation of the big dream and the momentum by setting an action and completing it.

Something to ponder,


Your Career ReInvention Lessons

I am moderating a career reinvention panel at the Booth Women Connect Conference on October 10, 2014.

If you are open to sharing, I would really appreciate knowing lessons learned in a previous career reinvention and even questions you might have about your current or future career invention.

Thanks in advance,

Step 5: Where Are You the Best?

I was chatting someone yesterday and I asked him, “Where do you want to put your focus for your next career move?” When I learned was that he was torn between possibilities. The first area (project management) was what he thought he should do – something that would be readily accepted, highly desired by the market, and easily accepted. The problem was that he wasn’t only above average in that area.

The second (marketing in a startup) provided less certainty, was much more ambiguous, and could fail. That said, my friend was a master at marketing – super skilled, innovative, and great at execution.

Toward the end of our conversation, we both agreed that going where one is best creates the highest value – if you have the courage to jump in.

Have a great weekend,

Step 4: Refine Your Vision

I met with someone today who had a terrible thing happen to him a few years ago. After jumping out of airplanes for most of his adult life, one day he woke up and was in excruciating pain. The surgeries were supposed to help and then did a little until one left him quadriplegic.

While this might have knocked out most people, with this remarkable man it did not. When I asked him how he kept going, he was incredibly clear: he created a new vision. This doesn’t mean he threw everything away, he kept what he could and refined the rest.

In the end, his quadriplegia was not permanent (thank goodness!). In fact, his transformation left him in better shape – physically, emotionally, and spiritually. This horrible situation gave him the courage to go after new things.

What a guy!

Have a great day,

Step 3: Who “Loves” You?

I am taking a Y Combinator class via Stanford University. I listened to the first lecture before work this morning and while I took away several things, one really stuck with me. The lecturer talked about how important it is to find the users (of your potential product or service) who really “love” you. One of the biggest mistakes that founders make is that go for the biggest audience without finding the people who can become your core, foundation, and anchor.

So, who “loves” you? Find them and they can be the basis of a great business, team, and/or community.

Have a great day,

Step 2: Decide

There is a very tricky balance between researching, analyzing, and preparing and actually doing. It can be rather comforting to think, brainstorm, and discuss unlimited possibilities for the future, yet without choosing a direction and moving forward little will be achieved.

So just for today, pick one thing that you might want to do and just do it. You don’t have to stick to it forever, just for now.

Have a great day,

Step 1: Courage

I was with some friends over the weekend and we had a discussion about the different tools available at our disposal to achieve different goals. One person, rejected each of the suggestions, one by one, until there was clearly nothing that could help him. Then, a new friend to the group, innocently asked: “Why don’t try one of them? Experiment a bit.”

No one said a word to the point where I wanted to say something to break the silence. Finally, the person who didn’t find one option to his liking said, “I can’t risk it. What if I fail?”

His honesty created an opening for a discussion of how scary some things can be and how forward motion can happen a teeny tiny step at a time.

So even if you don’t have much courage today, find a small place where you might and start there.


Why Miss Out

Some people don’t make a decision because they are afraid they will miss something. Yet not making a decision means they will miss everything.

So today, if you have a goal, make a small decision – one that is meaningful, but not daunting.

Have a great weekend,

A Burning Question

Today, I will share a question and ask you to fill in your unique answer. The question is this: “What would you be doing with your life if you couldn’t possibly fail?”

Have a great day,

Power Listening

Have you ever noticed that when someone is speaking to you, you only half listen? While it’s possible to not “get caught” if your 50% is of the most important points, it’s far from optimal. That said, I suspect that you will miss out on the real connection that takes place when you give your rapt attention.

So if you want all of the benefits of a relationship, do a bit of power listening (with your head and your heart.)

Have a great day,