This morning as I was feeding my 8 month old son, my only son, I looked at him and realized he had a lot to teach me about business.
Listen then Dominate. My son seems to listen to us when we speak to him. He will sit for long stretches of time gazing into our eyes, observing, learning, and contemplating. But every once in a while, he realizes that it is time for him to speak. When he does speak, people listen, if you try to get a word in, he will talk over you, he will not stop until he is done. Period. He will yell if he has to. To be successful in a career or to start a company I believe we must spend most of our time listening and learning so we know what actions to take. But there comes times where one must speak. When we speak, we should speak with authority and confidence, we ought not to let people sabotage our moment when we finally vocalize our thoughts.
Fight Sleep. This one seems obvious, the less one sleeps the more work can get done assuming you do not collapse from exhaustion. My son fights tooth and nail to stay awake. He has so much to do it seems that sleep is an enemy to whom he will give no quarter. In order to get an edge in the corporate setting or to stay ahead of the competition in a start-up setting sometimes we need more hours in the day. The way to make this happen is to stay awake and work when others slumber postponing their work for another day.
Move-Think-Move. At eight months if I am about to put my son down his legs and feet start making the crawling motions before he hits the ground. After getting sufficiently far enough to know that he is in a good position to spy where he may engage in some mischief, he changes direction. He does this over and over, moving a little and then figuring out where he should go. In our careers and as entrepreneurs we need to keep moving. We cannot plan out our every move before we make it. Take a few steps, perhaps even leaps, then asses, then move again. If my son tried to decide where he would go before he started moving he would not go anywhere because he would not be able to choose. As adults, planning is often an excuse for not taking action.
Persistence. My son is persistent. At 8 months old he knows that if he keeps trying, he can achieve his goals. He loves to chew on power cords. There is one in particular that he finds wonderfully delicious. He will crawl from across the room, a million times, day after day trying to get that power cord. (We are finally going to move the appliance.) Every once in a while he gets it for a few brief seconds and this is just enough to keep him at his task. This type of persistence I believe is needed to succeed at starting a business.