Category Archives: CEO Advice

“You do things when the opportunities come along” Warren Buffett

“I’ve had periods in my life when I’ve had a bundle of ideas come along, and I’ve had long dry spells. If I get an idea next week, I’ll do something. If not, I won’t do a damn thing.”  – Warren Buffett

You’re an entrepreneur. A scientist. A playwright. A second-grade teacher with a curriculum you need to put together. An artist. A music organizer. A guitarist. A preacher. All of them need new ideas, new creativity, every day!

It’s exciting… and also a lot of pressure.

What’s happening when “you don’t have any ideas”?

Well, something very important is happening.

First, your brain cannot be on creative overdrive every moment. It needs time to recharge and build up “blank” space. It’s like saying you don’t need to sleep. Body, mind, heart and soul all need time for rest… and then you can keep giving your 100% and be charged to excel again!

Secondly, patience is key. Just as Warren Buffett says, “if he doesn’t have an idea he doesn’t do anything.”

That’s really key. He’s not forcing it. He’s staying patient. He’s believing that the new idea is going to come.

And here’s where the real lesson is. He doesn’t make a billion dollar mistake.

If you get worried, push something, force an answer– it’s usually not right. So Buffett has done a brilliant but simple thing. He hasn’t made a lot of mistakes because he is not pushing it. He’s trusting the creative process. And therefore, waiting, patiently, for that wisdom. Therefore he makes billions of dollars, rather than lose billions of dollars.

Let’s review Buffett’s wisdom again. How does this affect your life? When have you made a rushed mistake? When you have had patience and waited for that peaceful answer? Please comment below!

“You do things when the opportunities come along. I’ve had periods in my life when I’ve had a bundle of ideas come along, and I’ve had long dry spells. If I get an idea next week, I’ll do something. If not, I won’t do a damn thing.”  – Warren Buffettstones-944145_1280.jpg


Warren Buffett

Born in Nebraska in 1930, Warren Buffett demonstrated keen business abilities at a young age. Nebraska was hit hard by the effects of the Great Depression. Like many children of the Depression, Buffett grew up to respect the value of money.
In grade school and high school Buffett not only showed his precocious proclivity for business by delivering newspapers, but also sold stamps, Coca-Cola beverages, golf balls and magazines door-to-door. By the time he was 15, Warren had amassed $2,000 and used it to buy a 40-acre farm in Nebraska. He hired a farm laborer to work on the land, then used the profits to help pay his way through University.
He formed Buffett Partnership Ltd. in 1956, and by 1965 he had assumed control of Berkshire Hathaway. Overseeing the growth of a conglomerate with holdings in the media, insurance, energy and food and beverage industries, Buffett became one of the world’s richest men and a celebrated philanthropist. In June of 2006, Buffett announced his intention to give away most of his fortune to charity.
Buffett believes in family and has 4 children, and lives in the same hometown of Nebraska.
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A Soul Chat About Doing What You Love to Do: Leslye Leaves Google

A Soul Chat About Doing What You Love to Do: Leslye Leaves Google

Recently, I was helping someone try to find what they love to do. We were having a soul chat. “Leslye” had left a prominent position at Google. The title seemed right on the external– that is, it seemed right to society.

But it didn’t seem right on the inside, with her heart. Still, she questioned leaving. She put herself through such mental anguish. When truly what her soul was saying is, “This isn’t right.” We have to listen.

 

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This was at a spiritual gathering, so I gave her some verses to study and think about deeply in her heart. Wisdom from spiritual practices help us connect with our own heart, our conscience, and our place in the world. Here is one I gave her:

  “I know what I’m doing. I have it all planned out—plans to take care of you, not abandon you, plans to give you the future you hope for. – Eugene Peterson, The Message

 

How amazing is that, if there is a universe of good, watching out for us. A spiritual power taking care.  It’s important we hook into something much more meaningful that just the importance of our day to day. We need to be inspired that our lives are part of a greater plan, whether that is nature, the universe, or any type of spirituality.

As we encourage one another, we can make a difference. From Leslye:

“Thanks for your thoughtful response! I really appreciated the list of verses. The theme of having a plan has been a helpful reminder to continue to [have] faith and not let anxiety win.”

 

“And not let anxiety win.”

That is so important that we don’t let anxiety win.  That’s not part of the package we were born with. We are born to be vibrant contributors to the world, filled with life, positivity, and a unique footprint.

 

Leslye’s doing great. But then Leslye questioned again. But she still didn’t want to go back to Google. She felt stuck.
So I shared:
 
“Remember, you left for a reason. Something wasn’t sitting right with your soul.  We really, as living a life truly alive, can’t ignore it. You can come be present with me. I understand and you won’t feel “so weird.” I get it! :)” 
 
 
We all need people we can be with on our unique pathway.  So if you are forging out and doing something different, find some likeminded innovative thinkers. It’s a tender stage.  Why is it so hard? As Leslye states:

 

“We often don’t see all of the challenges and rough patches that lead to the external successes; I was especially encouraged by examples of all the times you persevered through hardship. Similar to your experience of hopping, I’ve gone through three jobs in 4 years. I find myself often beating myself up for leaving Google, but I found comfort in your advice to keep going and keep trying — to view things that don’t work out as lessons and steps toward finding something that fits. The post on Personal Happiness (quote from J.K. Rowling) also resonated with me. One of the things I struggle with and find hard in a place like Silicon Valley is distinguishing between my achievements/resume and identity. I aspire to develop a greater focus on my qualities and how I can help others, rather than my resume”

                                                                                          –Leslye, regarding the piece “Rough

 

Wow! What lessons we can learn from Leslye.  You, and she, were given gifts to utilize. You’re not supposed to bury it. So keep working on your talents.. the universe wants that. The universe is not looking at your resume!

Thanks again for your inspiration Leslye. We are cheering you on to realizing your gifts in life!

Would You Say No To a Text? (Third in a Series of Three)

This is part 3 of a 3 part series that talks about finding and developing relationships you care about when social media can make it confusing to determine which are real. 
As you saw in my first part of this series, being present at lunch can make all the difference. (Read before about my lunch with Steve Mitchell from Ernst and Young, and the gift making each moment about people, relationships and being present. And in the second in our Series, we spoke of “Saying No to Social Media”.
So here’s where we are getting to the crux of what relationships mean in our day-to-day.   I am mentoring a few university students on their projects. Often times, the calls veer into day-to-day questions about values, and what is important in life. These conversations are very sincere, caring as students share their deepest thoughts.
I received this call the other evening from a very smart, engaged engineer who wants to make a difference in clean energy.
“I’m feeling really concerned. It feels off,” he said.
“What’s going on,” I respond.
“I was just realizing I am walking around campus and I know 100 people.  They know me. We say hi and we are friendly and it’s like I know all these people.”
“But I don’t,” he continued.  “At the end of the day, who of these people has my back…?”
 
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He was really worried.
It’s actually a good marker he was worried. For what he was driving at was that he desired substance.  That true connection, that life is about people, relationships and being present. And he didn’t necessarily feel that.  Who would have his back, or, be there for him?
 
Conversations like these show a natural backlash to our texting and social media norms.  They confront what being connected, feeling loved and feeling safe means.  So we have to work on having relationships in our lives that really make a difference. 
 
“Deepak,* you’re having the right thoughts. You’re valuing people and you’re seeking greater connections.  But the question I would ask is not “who has your back,” but “whose back do you have?  Who do you really care about, and of those 100 people, who do you really want a long-term, positive relationship of care and true sharing?”
 
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When we ask how we can care about someone else, we start taking practical steps to connect with them.  We will listen, help them grow and cheer them on.   Now you “have their back,” although I would say you’re seeking a way to connect mind and hearts. We’re not just trying to protect ourselves or others. We are seeking enriching, loving relationships.  
 
This led Deepak to start thinking about who he wanted a deeper relationship with. Maybe that was more lunches, study times, or shared activities with a few people.  It brought relief to his mind. He had a plan on how to care more deeply about others, and how they in turn would do the same.
 
In this digital world, we get caught up in texting, social media, and simply “waving to 100 people” who we might not really know.  For a true connection in life it’s about people, relationships and being present. How will you connect and care for someone today, offline? Please share!
*name was changed for confidential reasons

Would You Say No To a Text? (Second of a series of three)

This is part 2 of a 3 part series that talks about the influence of social media on how present people are in their daily lives. 
As you saw in my first part of this series, being present at lunch can make all the difference. (Read before about my lunch with Steve Mitchell from Ernst and Young, and the gift making each moment about people, relationships and being present.)
But saying no to text isn’t the only area of which we need to be aware, and even say no to.
92% of American teenagers (ages 13-17) are online every day. In fact, almost a quarter say they are on some type of platform constantly. According to the 2015 report by Pew Research Center, there was one TV show where parents “tested” taking away their teens cellphones for 24 hours. In some cases, there were shrieks, cries and anguish of the teens begging for their phones back. They were overly connected to their phones.
Christine Rosen wrote in the Wall Street Journal:
“A typical teen, according to Pew, has 145 Facebook friends and 150 Instagram followers.  Based on survey data from our lab as well as national statistics, I would estimate that only between 5% and 15% of teens abstain from social-media use.”
But the social media tides maybe changing.  I know some people on my team who don’t do social media, or aren’t that involved. One of my great marketers was 26 and considered “YGen” — and was not on any social media. She simply told me she didn’t have time, and wasn’t interested.
Christine Rosen quotes a woman:
 “I feel like a lot of what happens on Instagram isn’t valuable communication,” said Katherine Silk, 18, who grew up in Los Angeles and is about to start a gap year before heading to Emory University. “I’ll be with friends eating, and they’ll say, ‘ Let’s post this on Instagram!’ Sometimes I feel like saying, ‘you should be talking to me and the other people here, not posting things for people who may or may not care, just so you can get more likes.”
As for the possibility that they are missing out, the social-media abstainers are sanguine. “If I have something important to tell my friends, I’ll call them. That’s enough,”  says Ms. Silk.”
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Just as it’s important to be present with your colleague at lunch, being truly connected is not just online. It’s spending your time in a way that is present with others, not just FOMO.  If you are crying for your phone, maybe it’s time to set up in an in-person with your friend, or friends together. We have a need to connect. Social media isn’t the only filler to that need.
          Connecting is all about people, relationships and being present.  
 
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Would you ‘Say No to Text?” Say No to Social Media?  Tell me what you think.  
 
Christine Rosen is a writer for The Wall Street Journal. Read her article here.

Would You Say No To a Text? (First Series of Three)

This is part 1 of a 3 part series that talks about the importance of being present in conversations even with the distractions that technology can bring like texting and phone calls. 
I was just at lunch today at One Market in San Francisco, with dear colleague Steve Mitchell.  He’s been a leader in new business development at Ernst and Young. Yet for him, it’s not just about new business. It’s about people, relationships, and being present.
 
One of the great things I treasure these days is the quality of relationships with people.  More people are desiring this, too. As Steve and I were at lunch, my phone rang with an important call from my Director of Operations.
I didn’t pick up.
“Don’t you need to get that?”  Steve asked.
I responded that being present with him was my priority.  And after our lunch, my Director of Operations would then be my priority. I believe everyone is important, yet at different times.  
Being at an invited lunch with Steve was my priority.   The only reason I had my phone out, was to take notes from my time with Steve. We were having a great conversation!
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Notes, yes.
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Phone calls, no.
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Texts, no.
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In this day and age we truly must be present. It shows the deepest sense of respect. It’s about true eye connection and deep listening.  In this digital age, it’s probably the most respectful thing we can do, to let another person know we care.
You aren’t shifting around in your seat.
You aren’t picking up your phone for every text.
You aren’t taking the call, or saying “it will just take a minute.”
Because at the end of the day it doesn’t just take a minute. We all know that…. It takes much longer! Then you have taken away not only your time with the person, but also part of the respect, honor in the relationship. Your partner, your colleague, your table mate is waiting for you.
Steve noted this, remarking that few people understand the importance of respecting the other person; how it is the right thing to do. It also builds amazing long-term relationships. Steve and I plan on collaborating in so many areas, and helping each other, that our lunch lasted two hours. We’re excited to work together and help the world in new ways!
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The next time you get a text or a call at lunch, think twice. Will you Say No To Text?
The text might be important. So is the person in front of you. Make each moment about people, relationships and being present. 

“Tomorrow is the Most Important Thing in Life.” — John Wayne

“Tomorrow is the most important thing in life.  It comes into us at midnight very clean. It’s perfect when it arrives and it puts itself in our hands. It hopes we’ve learned something from yesterday.” -John Wayne-

When I think of John Wayne, he was a scowling cowboy, master of the screen.  He seemed so strong and invincible!

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Wayne teaches us that we all need to be learners. Even if you think you’re really tough, you need to see how you can be better.  You can reflect on yesterday and lessons learned.  Then, you’ll make today a better day.

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While are are tempted to think of John Wayne as cowboy actor, he expanded and skills during different part of his life. He was an excellent athlete and collegiate award-winning football player.  He later became very outspoken about political and international issues, even influencing international policy. Wayne was awarded the Congressional Gold Medal and the Presidential Medal of Freedom.  On the way, he had 7 children, and also fought cancer, becoming a strong advocate trying to find healing answers for all. And yes, he was an actor. 

So if you think you’ve reached a deadened, look deeper at yourself.

You have many talents

and many chapters to unfold in your life.

You aren’t talent-less or talent-dead. You have something, and many things, important to give.
 
There is no deadend.. as long as you don’t think there is.  Most people know John Wayne as an actor.  Yet his legacy is 100X more important.  He learned from each past day, and made “Tomorrow the most important thing.”
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“Do the best you can, and don’t take life too serious.” -Will Rogers

“Do the best you can, and don’t take life too serious.” -Will Rogers

This is great advice – and a tough one. Strive for excellence — then let go.  Excel, but relax. Be a go-getter, but laugh. One can think it is confusing!

Yet even the greatest Olympic ice skater, the president of the U.N., and your awesome mom need “a break from excellence.” Just a little time to breathe, reflect, enjoy life, live. 

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Why? Because then they can go back to excellence. They’ve rejuvenated, recharged, and “re-become” themselves. Did you know that 53% of people in the U.S. are considered “burnout.”?  And 48% percent in San Francisco and 52% percent in New York. What is burnout? It is a state of physical, emotional, and/or emotional exhaustion experienced at work. 

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So let the superstar in your life, go for it, and let go. They deserve it. And so do you!  

 

 

BiographyWilliam Penn Adair Rogers was born on November 4, 1879, in present-day Oologah, Oklahoma. Rogers grew up in a ranching family. In 1905, Rogers began performing a lasso act on the vaudeville circuit. His charm and humor, along with his technical ability, made Rogers a star. Audiences responded with enthusiasm to his off-the-cuff remarks delivered while performing elaborate roping tricks. Rogers parlayed his vaudeville success into a Broadway career. He debuted in New York in 1916, performing in The Wall Street Girl. This led to many more theatrical roles, including headlining appearances in the Ziegfeld Follies. In addition to acting, Rogers became nationally known as a writer. He penned a column for the Saturday Evening Post in newspapers. His columns dealt with contemporary issues from a perspective of small town morality, emphasizing the integrity of working people.

 

Rogers’s fame had eclipsed his country bumpkin persona by 1930. No longer believable as an uneducated outsider, he was able to voice his characteristic wit and wisdom while playing a professional. Legendary director John Ford worked with Rogers on three of these later films—Doctor Bull, Judge Priest and The Steamboat Round the Bend. On August 15, 1935, the plane carrying Will Rogers crashed in Point Barrow, Alaska. He died on impact. Millions across the country mourned the sudden silencing of a quintessentially American voice.