In 1999, the number two search engine behind Yahoo! was a company called Excite. (Other throwback search engines at the time were Lycos, Web Crawler, and Alta Vista.) Excite had the opportunity to purchase a little start up called “Google” in 1999 for $750,000 and about 1% of Excite. Turns out the founder of Google, Larry Paige, wanted to sell it so he could go back to Stanford and finish his PhD.
I had never been sick a day in my life until at age 34 I found “the lump”. I had testicular cancer. Less than 24 hours after my initial diagnosis, I had emergency surgery to remove my right testicle.
Following three months of brutally aggressive chemotherapy, I needed one more procedure to be cancer-free: Surgery to remove half of my left lung. The surgery was successful. However, I was left confined to a wheelchair unable to do ANYTHING, including going to the bathroom by myself.
As a keynote speaker, I often share the classic children’s fairytale, “Goldilocks and the Three Bears”, as an analogy for a fatal decision-making trap business leaders fall into — one of extremes. This porridge is too hot, this one is too cold, this one is just right. Goldilocks then struggles deciding between three chairs, three beds, and who knows what else.
In other words, Goldilocks suffered from the decision making trap of extremes: Having too many options to choose from, or not enough. Taking too long to make a decision (analysis paralysis), or not taking enough time (extinct by instinct). Having too many chefs in the kitchen or not enough.
In the business world, if you and your leadership team suffer from “The Goldilocks Trap”, it can be absolutely fatal.
Several years ago, I followed the common business advice of the day on how to pursue your passion. First, find something you’re truly passionate about. Second, pursue it obsessively. And then third, become wildly successful and wealthy! Easy, right? All you have to do is work longer and harder than anyone else. Be smarter and stronger than everyone. Sacrifice everything to achieve your dream.