Pride Comes Before a Fall

Weak people can be wildly successful because they aren’t too proud to ask for help.

Are you ever weak?

If someone has a weakness holding them back, the first step is admitting it.  Don’t try to hide it.  We can see.  Don’t try to fake it.  We all know.  Don’t try to control it. You can’t fix it yourself.

Just admit it and ask for help.

“When pride comes, then comes disgrace”

– 3,000 year old Hebrew Proverb (King Solomon)

Don’t think this applies to you?  I need a little reminder myself sometimes.

We all have weakness!

I almost got fired from my first leadership job after school because I was too proud to admit what I didn’t know.  I alienated my team.  Performance fell apart.

I fell.

We may be skilled at many things, but we all have a weaknesses somewhere that will bite us if we’re too proud.

  • If we’re too proud to ask for help, we alienate those who can help us.
  • If we’re too proud to learn, the teachers will leave us.
  • If we’re too proud to admit our weakness, we fall behind.

It’s something to think about tomorrow.

Have a humble night,

Aaron@Biebert

PS.  I wrote this for myself and hope we can all use the reminder from time to time.

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The Year of the Underdog?

I hope this year’s Final Four is a sign of things to come for all my fellow warriors that are undersized, out-manned, or “too young” to make it.

Here’s a quick recap:

In their own brackets, VCU was the #11 seed (had to play an extra game to even get in), Butler was #8, Kentucky was #4, and Connecticut was #3, effectively making them tied for the #41, #33, #17, and #13 seeds overall.  Everyone is wondering where all the heavy favorites went…

Let’s talk about the underdogs!

Looking for the classic underdog story? Look no further than Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU).  In order to make it to the Final Four they had to play an extra game against USC and then win four games against higher rated opponents (#6, #3, #10, and #1).

On top of that, they lack an experienced “battle hardened” leader. Their coach, Shaka Smart, is the 2nd youngest coach in the NCAA tournament at 33 years old.

Butler has the 3rd youngest coach in the tournament (Brad Stevens is 34 years old) and had to beat #1, #2 and #4 in their bracket.  Talk about uphill battles!

In the business world I like being the underdog.  That’s how I know I’m pushing myself hard enough.  I like being the youngest guy in the room, competing against the biggest companies, fighting to win battles no one picks me to win.

I absolutely love it.

Sometimes I get crushed, but sometimes I get to feel like Butler right now in the championship.  I wouldn’t have it any other way.

So what’s the secret behind this 33 year old VCU coach from Oregon, WI?  Here’s what he had to say to his team and I think we can all take away something from it:

  • [Optimism] “The teams advancing, they don’t look at the glass half empty. They don’t look at the roadblocks in the way.”
  • [Excuses] “Concerns send you home. Excuses send you home.”
  • [Positive Outlook] “Make no mistake about it, our guys believe we can win. I know we can win.”

I don’t know about you, but I’ll be cheering for the underdogs to win it all this year.

Let’s make 2011 the “Year of the Underdog!”

Have a great night,

Aaron@Biebert

Steve Jobs: A Profile in Failure and Courage

It is my pleasure to introduce you to this week’s 8pm Warrior of the Week.  He is a college dropout.  He was fired from a company he started in his garage and now he’s fighting the worst kind of cancer.

We’ve all heard of Steve Jobs.  Like him or not, there’s very few people who would disagree that he’s inspiring, creative, and brilliant.

He is also a true 8pm Warrior.

In 2004 he was successfully running both Apple and Pixar (now he sits on Disney’s board) while fighting for his life against Pancreatic Cancer, a disease that claims 95% of victims within 5 years.

That was 7 years ago.

Now Apple is the #2 most valuable company in the world and Barron’s recently declared that Steve Jobs was “without a doubt” the most valuable CEO in the world.  Fortune magazine named him the Smartest CEO in the world.

Success!

However, I think many people (primarily young Warriors) forget about what always preceded his success:  failure.

1) He couldn’t find success in college, so he started a company.

2) He was fired from that company, so he started two more.

3) Some of his products were disasters, so developed new ones such as Macs, Computer Animation, iPods, iPhones, and iPads.

4) Now, his ventures and products are wildly successful, but he has one battle he may not win, Pancreatic Cancer.

Yet, he will no doubt fight on.

Before one of the brightest business stars in history passes from this earth, I wanted to personally recognize him, his struggles, and the 8pm Warrior story we can all learn from.  In some of my darkest moments in business, his story has reminded me of what is possible when you don’t give up doing the work you love.  His story reminds us to press on.

Here’s a timeline:

  • Born & Adopted (1955)
  • Drops out of Reed College after one semester (1972)
  • Jobs, Wozniak, and Wayne start Apple (1976)
  • Power struggle leads to his forced exit from Apple (1984), so he starts NeXT (competitor)
  • Creates Pixar Animation Studios (1986)
  • Serves as executive producer of the first computer animated movie “Toy Story” (1995)
  • Apple buys NeXT, Steve returns as CEO of Apple after 13 years (1997)
  • Pancreatic Cancer attempts a hostile takeover (2004)
  • Steve remains as CEO of Pixar until merger with the Walt Disney Company (2006)
  • Jobs undergoes a Liver transplant (2009)
  • Apple becomes the world #2 most valuable company and Barron’s declares that Steve Jobs is “without a doubt” the most valuable CEO in the world. (2011)

Thanks for the inspiration Steve.

Aaron@Biebert

More good reading about Steve Jobs:

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I’m 90% Failure

I like to be up-front with my colleagues that 9 out of 10 ideas I come up with are bad ones.

However, sometimes it seems like I’m trying to get through the first nine as fast as possible.  While many people (not my fellow 8pm Warriors) might give up after one or two failures, I’ve got plans for something special.  I’m holding out for magic #10 every time, no matter how painful it gets.

That’s means a lot of failure.

I didn’t always think of myself as a 90% failure, but after looking at my past it’s quite clear. With all the running, pushing, and leaping I’ve done over the years, there’s been a LOT of gut-wrenching, aching, painful failures to get to #10.

You probably know the feeling I’m talking about…

However, as the oldest son of a Lutheran minister with eight kids, I had no other choice if I wanted to be successful in business leadership without waiting forever.  No one was going to do it for me.

I had to pay for college, take loans for almost everything I needed to start out, and never had any seed money or venture capital from family (they were all poor or thought I was crazy).

On top of that, we were lacking strong business mentors in my family.  I was the product of 2 generations of pastors and 4 generations of farmers.  Nothing wrong with those professions, it’s just that I had another calling, another passion.  However, it meant less support and fewer cheerleaders along the way.

I’ll bet I’m not alone.

These days, many of us are having a hard time with failure.  Take heart.  If you want to be different, blaze trails, make magic, then you’re bound to fail at some point.  Sooner or later we all fail along the path to great things.  The key is not quitting.

Ignore the naysayers.  Ignore the “I told you so” folks.

Keep going!

It’s easy for the spectators in life to watch us fall down on the road of life.  It’s easy for them to privately laugh, snicker, and feel good about themselves from the comfort of their simple life.  They will call us failures, “Pie in the Sky” dreamers, and tell us to get our heads out of the clouds.

I don’t care.

We will reach the end.  We will get to #10.  It just might hurt a bit and we must accept the fact that we might be 90% failures.

This blog is about that journey, about those who walk the same path towards their destiny.

Join me.

Have a great night,

Aaron@Biebert

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Warrior of the Week: Governor Scott Walker

“Elections have consequences” – Barrack Obama

I agree with President Obama’s statement, but rarely do elections mean different results.  Even though parties may change, the business of government rarely does.

One 8pm Warrior aims to change that.

Meet Scott Walker, Governor of Wisconsin and this week’s 8pm Warrior of the Week.

Like his policies or not (I wasn’t a big fan of killing high speed rail), you have to give him credit for doing what he promised and working towards the financial reform he was elected for.

  • He makes difficult decisions.
  • He does his job, even when it makes enemies with powerful people.
  • He walks his talk.

He’s barely been in Madison for a month, and he’s already got 70,000 union members protesting his plans to cut the state budget and change the way unions control the government.  It reminds me of Greece and Paris lately.  No doubt that tough times are ahead for him, but I believe that if you’re not making someone uncomfortable, you’re probably not making real changes.

It’s his job.

He was elected 52% to 46% by campaigning to make these sorts of significant changes in a State facing a $3,000,000,000 budget shortfall.  Now he’s working hard and fast to complete needed changes quickly, much like 8pm Warriors around the country have to do every day to survive and thrive.  That’s why Governor Scott Walker is this week’s 8pm Warrior of the Week.

Learn more about Governor Scott Walker:

Have a great night,

Aaron@Biebert

When the Going Gets Tough…

…the “Tough” find other tough people to work with.

Then they get going.

No person is an island.  No one wins alone.

If you want to get through tough times, you need a team of others who are focused on the team (not themselves), mature, and smart.

Have a great night,

Aaron@Biebert

Why Walk the Boulevard of Broken Dreams?

After “The Lonely Life” topic posted earlier this week, it was interesting to see the response.  After all, who really wants to walk the lonely “Boulevard of Broken Dreams”?

I do.

I guess so does the band Green Day, business owner Jim Sadlovsky, and blogger James Holloway.

But why?

It’s because committed entrepreneurs know that despite the risks of broken dreams, it’s hard to be remarkably successful in any venture by taking the safe path and the crowded road.

Unfortunately that doesn’t give much comfort to those looking to start a new venture for the first time.  My advice?  Be prepared for some pain.  Be prepared to go it alone if no one believes in you.

8pm Warriors, this could be our official Anthem…

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWNRUVMboq4

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gWNRUVMboq4

“Boulevard Of Broken Dreams”

I walk a lonely road
The only one that I have ever known
Don’t know where it goes
But it’s home to me and I walk alone

I walk this empty street
On the Boulevard of Broken Dreams
Where the city sleeps
and I’m the only one and I walk alone

Have a great night,

Aaron@Biebert

Everyone Wants to Win

But not everyone does.

Why is that?

There are only two main reasons:

1)  They never start

OR

2) They start, but never finish

I assume you’re reading this because you’ve started something that you haven’t finished.  (People who don’t start things generally don’t care to work past 5pm, and people who’ve finished them don’t need to work past 5pm)

But don’t pat yourself on the back yet.  If you haven’t finished, you’re really no different than those who didn’t start, except that you might be wasting your time while their out relaxing, drinking, or sleeping.

Gut check time.

If you want to win, you need to finish.  Luckily, in the modern world there are many ways to do that.  However, most of them take determination, bravery, and creativity.

Finish strong.  Win.

I’ll be right here with you.

Have a great night,

Aaron@Biebert