Thanks for asking, Julie!
My first draft of this post hinted that I'd discuss the Why in a future post, but that line got cut in the editing process as I tried to get the content closer to the length for a good typeshare image. (Which I eventually did here, in case you're curious.)
I may not get to this before we leave for Hawaii, but I'm also considering how much writing is a part of R&R for me right now. 🤷♂
That being said, I’m a bit confused by intense skepticism as a form of social currency in this industry. Since my first days reporting on then interviewing with VC partners, I’ve noticed that the ability to quickly (if not instantaneously) call out what’s wrong with a founder’s idea or vision is often equated with intelligence. I find that ironic given our charge is to bet on what’s possible. Rarely does the future match our predictions, which ought to encourage us to see beyond our squints.
Saying why something won't work costs very little social capital and can be very easily earmarked as "due diligence." If you're wrong, "business is unpredictable."
Making a case for what's possible -- even or especially if it'll be difficult -- requires much more courage and capital. If you're wrong, you lose cred because "you should've done more due diligence."
In June 2021, I started the process of habituating myself to effectively read from digital sources. Specifically, I’m working on encoding and referencing the information. I read a lot on a screen, but I don’t retain it and I don’t have a good process for finding my references compared to how I do this with the information I print or read from physical books.
I have nearly 4 decades of habits, practices, and biases of reading physical books; it’s not a stretch to say I’m optimized for it, given that I read 5–15 books a month depending on what’s going…
…ith a plan to fund her first prototype. She was so excited when she called to tell me all about it. I couldn’t believe the words she spoke over the phone; she was becoming a surrogate mother to get the money needed to bring her dream to life. I was heartbroken and moved to tears. Tears of frustration and anger for this amazing, brave, strong black woman who was putting her body and life at risk for the opportunity to build a company. It was then that I knew I needed to start a venture firm where I could invest in founders like her.
This reminds me of the similar decision many BIPOC kids make about joining the military. "Upward mobility" for some people entails life and limb on the line, whereas, for others, it's a matter of education and connections. When all you have is your life, grit, and hope, your life becomes the ante.
We are often frustrated by our constraints, but it turns out that constraints can be really good for us.
To begin with, constraints are more effective than discipline because invoking discipline requires willpower that, at any given moment, we may not have. In a situation where discipline is required, a decision is also required because we have to choose between two or more courses of action. Constraints, however, eliminate a multitude of options without our having to do any of the cognitive work or exert our willpower. …
There are two types of expertise: functional expertise and accorded expertise. You can be an expert, then, by acquiring either functional expertise or accorded expertise, and neither one is better than the other, depending on what you’re trying to do.
Functional expertise is accrued through study, deliberate practice, and experience. While you don’t necessarily have to have mastery of a skill or domain to be a functional expert in that skill or domain, we most often associate functional expertise with mastery.
Accorded expertise, on the other hand, is accrued because some other person, organization, or institution grants you the title…
Recently, I tweeted this:
I’ve been thinking a lot about what “Enough” means for my life and business. If I don’t know where there is, how can I get there?
The reactions to this statement were interesting. One reaction was that asking someone to be, have, or do less than they can is too much to ask. Another was that we can’t assume a “there” even exists.
What fascinates me when I talk about sufficiency is there’s always some pushback against the idea. The immediate thing that many people hear is that I’m advancing a scarcity mindset. …
Self-compassion permeates our work here. It’s not some special icing on the flourishing cake we’re cooking — it’s an essential ingredient. While you may be able to succeed without self-compassion for a while, you won’t thrive. At some point, the harm, suffering, pain, or neglect you put yourself through will catch up with you. The bill always comes due.
We sometimes use “self-care” as a proxy for “self-compassion.” But they’re actually different concepts. Self-compassion is regarding yourself compassionately. Self-care, by contrast, is treating yourself compassionately. The two terms sound interchangeable, but they contain a thinking versus doing distinction.
When we have ten spare minutes at work, we often flip to Facebook, investigate Instagram, or putter to the break room to see if the coffee’s finished brewing. Nothing is “wrong” with those activities. However, we might put our free time to better use, using them to energize our productivity levels or reach unrealized goals. (Example: learning a second language or listening to a podcast dedicated to leadership development.)
To help us seize the minute of free time, let’s commit to less waste. Less trolling of social media. Less checking of email. (News, too, if that’s your habitual thing.) Let’s…
Yes, I know it’s already March. I also know that many people are still trying to plan so they can have a productive year — which is why I’m pushing this out now. Published beyond the onslaught of the numerous posts and articles you’ve bookmarked to come back to “soon,” this one should be hitting you when everyone else on the internet has moved on, so let it be the one that really kicks you into gear.
As you likely already know, there’s a difference between knowing you can do something and knowing you will do something. Will denotes a…