Category: Focus

“The money comes AFTER you win the championship. The championship comes from the sweat of the brow.” – Rob Wiltbank

Everybody dreams of being the champion.

But no sees all the hard work, stress and toil that go on behind the scenes; the practice, the pain, the setbacks.

Though there’s rarely a free lunch, there is one guarantee.  No one wins unless they decide to play.

The players are the ones getting it done. Everyone else is a talking head blathering on about what the players are thinking.

Analysis comes from history so go make the history and let’s the wannabe’s talk about how you did it.

Rob Wiltbank was a panelist at the 2013 SSTI Conference in Portland

“I have only one superstition. I touch all the bases when I hit a home run.” – Babe Ruth

This is the Babe’s version of “The harder I work, the luckier I get.”

There are few short cuts and even fewer free lunches. Michael Jordan still practiced 8 hours a day. Great jazz improvisers took years to learn how to play with spontaneity.

Opportunity rarely finds those who haven’t earned it or otherwise, put themselves in a position to receive it.

Investors don’t invest in your ideas. They invest in your ability to create value. The rounding of the bases comes after the ball is hit…. Luck has very little to do with it.

“I don’t know the key to success, but the key to failure is trying to please everybody.” – Bill Cosbey


It’s interesting how often people predict the doom of Apple because of the iPhone.  Every version had quirks and bugs and yet we are on the 6th (?) version and Apple continues to set the standard.

Startups have plenty of “advisors” and critics.  The community is being overrun now with entrepreneurial service providers, accelerators, mentoring programs and the like.  Angels groups are growing and now we have crowd funding for investors.  All of these interests have their value in helping to shape entrepreneurs for success.

But there’s really only one measure…

Are your customers buying your product?

If the advice you’re getting does not point you to that, then it’s bad advice and a likely key to failure.

“What’s next?” – Martin Sheen fromThe West Wing

President Josiah Bartlett was often heard at the end of an episode to ask “What’s next?”  It would follow routine activities as well as the  resolution of a major crisis.

It always stuck with me because it’s all about  not living in the past, no matter how recent.

Nor is it about spending much time analyzing the future because it cannot be known.

As the current moment passes, the only thing that’s important is the next moment.  It’s a statement of action and of getting things done…

…that is, the right things.

“He who sleeps on the floor will not fall off the bed.” – Robert Gronock

This one caught my eye because you can pretty much make up your own meaning.  Then again it’s so obvious and simple; like “You have to be present in order to be there.”

For the entrepreneur, it speaks to me of risk and the virtues of simplicity.  Sure it’s less risky to sleep on the floor,  but who wants to do that?  Every meaningful endeavor carries some risk.

But then, having a bed requires space, money and maintenance.  Sheets must be washed requiring a washing machine.  Beds should be properly made up in the morning (according to my wife).  Mattresses must be turned every few weeks and how do you get rid of old mattresses?  No one really knows.

The more stuff you accumulate, the more resources and attention it takes to maintain it all, and the less focus is available for the startup venture.  There’s only one thing better than having your own boat; that’s having a good friend who has their own boat!  Boats are fun and relaxing but there is a trade off.

A lot of my favorite entrepreneur case studies are about those who were not at all focused on accumulating personal stuff while they were building their companies.  Most of that came later.

“Start a ‘Stop Doing’ list” – Jim Collins from Good To Great

We often use “To Do” lists to keep up with all the stuff we have to get done.  It’s never ending.  To make it worse, entrepreneurs are typically wired to get things done.

Jim Collins suggests that having a “stop doing” list is perhaps more important than than our “to do” list.  Learning to say “no” is vital for making time to get the important things done.

Sometimes this happens automatically because we tend to gravitate toward the things in our minds that are the most important.  But this can based on emotional responses.  Even worse, we let the agenda of others manage our activities.

A deliberate process of identifying the things that are strategically important and the things that are not can go a long way to helping you get things done.

“An idealist is a person who helps other people to be prosperous.” – Henry Ford

I like to be around big idea people but I find that few of them actually have the ability to pull it off.  They see the world as how it could be when everything lines up perfectly.  But they have a way of tying up time, attention and resources.

Entrepreneurs are the ones who take the big ideas and navigate the maze of reality.

Have your big ideas.

Hang around others with big ideas.

Filter out the noise and then go get it done!