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.
I used to spend 10 sometimes 12 or 14 hours even at work. I had a very successful business career killing myself climbing the corporate ladder. Then I had a GREAT idea — I’ll leave my successful, well-paying, secure corporate job and start my own company!
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.
As a business transformation keynote speaker, I often speak to organizations on how to achieve peak performance. Last week I was delivering a presentation to a sales division of a very successful multinational conglomerate when someone asked, “How do we really become a great sales team?”
My Aikido martial arts academy attracts a lot of high-powered students in Washington, D.C. I have State Department employees studying with me, FBI and CIA agents, U.S. and foreign diplomats, all sorts of people part of the country’s — and the world’s — power structure.
Many years ago, I was sitting in my cubicle at work and started to yawn. I was hungry and a bit bored with the less-than-challenging work I was doing. Thinking it was almost lunch-time, I glanced at my watch. 9:38 AM. What?! It felt like I had been sitting there in my little felt box for at least three or four hours. Ugh.
The toughest Aikido martial arts class I ever taught was a bunch of teenage girls. I’d been brought in to teach at one of the most exclusive, private all-girl prep schools in Washington, DC. The kids in this school were straight out of the movie Mean Girls — privileged, entitled, ruling their own corner of the world.
My daughter is two years old now and weighs about 25 pounds. Picking her up after her nap when she is still a little drowsy and relaxed is very easy — she lifts her arms up, gives me a sleepy smile, and into my arms she comes. Trying to pick her up when she is a screaming, squirming two-year-old-tyrant throwing a temper tantrum is next to impossible. So why is it so difficult, if not impossible, to pick up my daughter when she is throwing a temper tantrum? She still only weighs 25 pounds. I can easily pick up 25 pounds with one arm.