Encouragement
Apr 17 2010

Back late last year (November 21, 2009 to be exact) this quote fell into my in box from Jeffrey Fry’s daily quote email list: “The spirited horse, which will try to win the race of its own accord, will run even faster if encouraged.”  –Ovid. I think I’ve met Jeffrey (also an entrepreneur) twice, but we’ve exchanged several emails about our life’s journey’s.

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That quote hit me for some reason.  And I just now realized that quote came in almost exactly a year after I stood at the Entrepreneurial Ledge (I wrote that post on November 20, 2008 with tears in my eyes) after having heard that the first company I founded had gone out of business.  I subsequently heard that the assets had been sold to a manufacturing company and some of the people went to work for that company so the technology in some form has survived.  I know that some people might find it cheesy or maybe even ‘girly’ to be so affected by such news because after all, it’s just a company.  But to me it was like a baby.  The people were important to me and I cared about them.  I have heard many of my entrepreneur friends refer to their businesses as their baby.  They equate the experience to one of giving birth to and nurturing it as best they can.  Starting a business is a wild financial, emotional, and physical ride very much akin to rearing kids!

At any rate, after letting that quote sit in my Outlook Inbox for a few days or weeks…I can’t really recall, I sent the following email to my fellow Director’s at the Austin Technology Incubator.

I think this [encouragement] is an important part of what we do.  As an entrepreneur (spirited horse) you have so many forces trying to bring you down, being critical, double guessing you, etc. that even the slightest amount of encouragement can keep you going and running faster.

Because our incentives are not set up like most investors/VCs, we can be liberal with our encouragement which I think is a huge intangible benefit we offer towards the success of our companies/entrepreneurs.

Giving someone (or a group) positive energy helps them see things they might not have been able to see or better said makes it easier for them to see things because they don’t feel threatened by criticism/limits.  I’d say a good example of this is what’s happening with [XYZ Company] with their big business model change.  But I can point to a few more companies as well who when encouraged and highlighted have increased their odds of success.

But that’s just me.  I believe in energy flows/vibrations at the sub atomic level and if you’ve noticed scientists have been proving and writing about this phenomenon.  And as someone who broke her arm at the age of 13 riding a big, black ex-race horse (whose name I think was Jude) who was inadvertently encouraged to run faster by another horse, I speak from experience.

I do believe that encouraging someone can go a long way to the success of that individual and/or the company.  Of course, encouragement has to be tempered with reality.  I don’t believe in the “let’s all win a medal for lifting a cup to our mouths” encouragement that some kids are subjected to because I think that sets them up for huge disappointment later.  As we all know, we don’t get medals just for showing up to work.  In fact, I like playing board games with my kids because someone has to lose and they have to realize that sometimes you win and sometimes you lose and in many cases the person who wins is determined by who draws the first card (e.g., Candy-land)! Plus when one of them starts to say ‘that’s not fair,’ it’s prime teaching time to let them know many things don’t seem fair in this world but they just have to deal with it.

But the right amount of encouragement, with a nice side helping of humorous perspective, can help someone (e.g., an entrepreneur) immensely especially during times when it seems like the rest of their world (investors, board members, employees, family) is pulling them down or doesn’t see or feel what they do.  I think the mere act of believing in someone, helping them focus on their strengths, and being there for them during a tough time, can have a huge impact on their ability to reach their full potential.

As usual the gorgeous photo is by my good friend Sandy Blanchard. When I look at it, I see a flower that was encouraged by the right amounts of sun, rain, and nutrients to open up and present such stunning beauty to the world…

Author: | Filed under: entrepreneurship, parenting | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments »

Contemplating A Blogging Break
Nov 4 2009

I’m seriously considering a very long blogging break while I figure out what I want to be when I grow up.  Or shall I say what I want this blog to be as it grows up.  The posts have been kind of random lately…a bit out of focus like I feel these days.

I was having lunch with one of my advisers today who always pumps me up.   He’s almost 70 years old and calls himself a recycled dad because he has grand kids older than his youngest kids.  I like him a lot because he’s used to working with strong, smart, professional women.  In the company he founded some 30 years ago when it wasn’t cool to hire women in senior positions, he had the most on his team.  He always jokes that he knows that women are the ones who get things done.  I think he grew up with 4 sisters.  He told me no matter what happens that I should be confident in 3 things about myself.  I told him I’ll put those 3 things on a note on the mirror or at least repeat them to myself.  It’s nice to have people believe in you!  He also said something like don’t worry about how things didn’t work out, just change your perspective and move forward.

I think I’ve mentioned that I’m interested in the bioscience/health care field, and I’m figuring out how I can use my current job to find opportunities to learn more about those industries.  I’m also enjoying my time singing and learning more about singing.  I wonder if I can combine some sort of music with biotech and create an interesting business…

So while I make some decisions, I’ll leave you with a post by Seth Godin and some song lyrics by Bob Dylan that my friend Robb Lanum has been sending out the last several weeks on our email club.  I know Robb via his cousin Jay, who is married to Sandy (link to her photo site).   Oh the things that get written on that email club…I hope never see the light of day.  At least I’m never planning to run for political office!  I never listened to Bob Dylan growing up and don’t really know much about him but Robb has been randomly sending out these lyrics and they have been strangely poignant.

I hope you all will still be here when I get back.

Make a decision – by Seth Godin

It doesn’t have to be a wise decision or a perfect one. Just make one.

In fact, make several. Make more decisions could be your three word mantra.

No decision is a decision as well, the decision not to decide. Not deciding is usually the wrong decision. If you are the go-to person, the one who can decide, you’ll make more of a difference. It doesn’t matter so much that you’re right, it matters that you decided.

Of course it’s risky and painful. That’s why it’s a rare and valuable skill.

Summer Days – Bob Dylan 2001

Summer days, summer nights are gone
Summer days and the summer nights are gone
I know a place where there’s still somethin’ going on

I got a house on a hill, I got hogs all out in the mud
I got a house on a hill, I got hogs out lying in the mud
Got a long haired woman, she got royal Indian blood

Everybody get ready – lift up your glasses and sing
Everybody get ready to lift up your glasses and sing
Well, I’m standin’ on the table, I’m proposing a toast to the King

Well I’m drivin’ in the flats in a Cadillac car
The girls all say, “You’re a worn out star”
My pockets are loaded and I’m spending every dime
How can you say you love someone else when you notice me all the time?

Well, the fog’s so thick you can’t spy the land
The fog is so thick that you can’t even spy the land
What good are you anyway, if you can’t stand up to some old businessman?

Wedding bells ringin’, the choir is beginning to sing
Yes, the wedding bells are ringing and the choir is beginning to sing
What looks good in the day, at night is another thing

She’s looking into my eyes, she’s holding my hand
She’s looking into my eyes, she’s holding my hand
She says, “You can’t repeat the past.” I say, “You can’t? What do you mean you can’t? Of course you can.”

Where do you come from? Where do you go?
Sorry that is nothin’ you would need to know
Well, my back has been to the wall for so long, it seems like it’s stuck
Why don’t you break my heart one more time just for good luck

I got eight carburetors, boys I’m using ‘em all
Well, I got eight carburetors and boys, I’m using ‘em all
I’m short on gas, my motor’s starting to stall

My dogs are barking, there must be someone around
My dogs are barking, there must be someone around
I got my hammer ringin’, pretty baby, but the nails ain’t goin’ down

You got something to say, speak or hold your peace
Well, you got something to say, speak now or hold your peace
If it’s information you want you can go get it from the police

Politician got on his jogging shoes
He must be running for office, got no time to lose
He been suckin’ the blood out of the genius of generosity
You been rolling your eyes – you been teasing me

Standing by God’s river, my soul is beginnin’ to shake
Standing by God’s river, my soul is beginnin’ to shake
I’m countin’ on you love, to give me a break

Well, I’m leaving in the morning as soon as the dark clouds lift
Yes, I’m leaving in the morning just as soon as the dark clouds lift
Gonna break the roof in – set fire to the place as a parting gift

Summer days, summer nights are gone
Summer days, summer nights are gone
I know a place where there’s still somethin’ going on

Spirit on the Water – Bob Dylan 2006

Spirit on the water
Darkness on the face of the deep
I keep thinking about you babe
And I can’t hardly sleep

I’m traveling by land
Traveling through the dawn of day
You’re always on my mind
I can’t stay away

I’d forgotten about you
Then you turned up again
I always knew
We were meant to be more than friends

When you are near
It’s just as plain as it can be
I’m wild about you, gal
You ought to be a fool about me

Can’t explain
The sources of this hidden pain
You burned your way into my heart
And you got the key to my brain

I’ve been trampling through mud
Praying to the powers above
I’m sweating blood
You got a face that begs for love

Life without you
Doesn’t mean a thing to me
If I can’t have you,
I’ll throw my love into the deep blue sea

Sometimes I wonder
Why you can’t treat me right
You do good all day
Then you do wrong all night

When you’re with me
I’m a thousand times happier than I could ever say
What does it matter
What price I pay?

They brag about your sugar
Brag about it all over town
Put some sugar in my bowl
I feel like laying down

I’m pale as a ghost
Holding a blossom on a stem
You ever seen a ghost? No
But you have heard of them

I see you there
I’m blinded by the colors I see
I take good care
Of what belongs to me

I hear your name
Ringing up and down the line
I’m saying it plain
These ties are strong enough to bind

Your sweet voice
Calls out from some old familiar shrine
I got no choice
Can’t believe these things would ever fade from your mind

I could live forever
With you perfectly
You don’t ever
Have to make a fuss over me

From East to West
Ever since the world began
I’m only in it for the best
I want to be with you any way I can

I been in a brawl
Now I’m feeling the wall
I’m going away baby
I won’t be back ‘til fall

High on the hill
You can carry all my thoughts with you
You’ve numbed my will
This love could tear me in two

I wanna be with you in paradise
And it seems so unfair
I can’t go to paradise no more
I killed a man back there

You think I’m over the hill
You think I’m past my prime
Let me see what you got
We can have a whoppin’ good time

Author: | Filed under: blogging, random stuff | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments »

Posting Will Be Light While I Contemplate the Universe
Jun 8 2009

It’s been almost a week since I last posted.  And yes, I hate doing the ‘posting will be light’ post since it’s so ‘been there done that,’  but while I sort through a bunch of varied things and go on a much needed vacation sometime in the next few weeks, posting will, in fact, be light.

So until the next unpredictably timed post, please enjoy this photo taken and image created by my good friend, Sandy Blanchard (click this link to check out her cool photography site).  She sent it to me in email back in April 2009 with the subject ‘you are special’ and a note that said “A little something for you” and it made my day!  I was touched, honored and reminded of what great friends I have been blessed with.

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Author: | Filed under: random stuff | Tags: , | 2 Comments »