How long should you sit on your Kingdom?


shutterstock_176207369After all your hard work.

Isn’t it time to sit back and relax?

It’s so compelling to think about it. It’s so alluring, but don’t go there … It’s a Trap!

Today I was listening to Marc Benioff. Founder and CEO of Salesforce. The pioneer in the “No Software” movement. He was asked about some of the competitors to his business. He mentioned that they “Sat on their kingdoms for too long” — which I thought was very interesting. It got me thinking and it inspired this post.

The gist of his idea is that we always need to keep learning, pushing ourselves and reaching for the next big thing.

Always Be Learning

After working so hard for so many years in school it seems like it’s time to take a break and enjoy the fruits of your labors. While there is certainly a lot to be said for taking a break. I’ve written a few times about taking breaks – notably about Just Taking 10 as being a good thing. And, it is a good thing to take breaks. However, during those down times or as a bumper to some of those down times it’s wise to keep learning and continuing to hone your skills and to master your business.

Start Early or Start Late … science and history has shown that it doesn’t matter when you start. Just THAT you start.

“I started tinkering … and never stopped” ~Nolan Bushnell, Founder of Atari

A few more examples from Nick Woodman, the founder and CEO of GoPro are worth thinking about:

  • Wake up every morning a little bit scared.
  • Competition is a really good thing. It drives you and motivates you to keep running hard.
  • Never stop being a startup. Never stop trying to re-invent yourself.
  • Never get complacent
  • Give Back

Philanthropy – Giving Back is Good
Both Marc Benioff and Nick Woodman are much more than fans of the idea. They are active contributors.

In Nick’s case, he and his wife are active with BUILD, a Non-Profit to engage and encourage students. Build promotes entrepreneurship in public schools.

Stick With It … while Iterating

Persistence doesn’t always get rewarded. But there is something to be said for sticking with it.There is a point when you try something and fail and know that you just need to keep trying. This is what I mean by sticking with it yet continuing to iterate. Keep trying one new twist, one new thing, one new approach.

“Stay committed to your decisions, but stay flexible in your approach.” Tony Robbins

There are times where you need to pivot (to use the Eric Ries “Lean Model” of thinking). There are people that will tell you it cannot be done. You might even begin to tell yourself this. However, don;t give up. Keep at it. Another line from the interview where I saw Marc Benioff stuck with me and struck a chord. It’s related to people and the tendency to value what’s close in time. The stock market certainly rewards the short timeline thinking, but generally there is a need to think long term. Try it. See what happens.

“In business, we say that people overestimate what you can do in a year
and underestimate what you can do in a decade.” ~Marc Benioff

Don’t Rest on your Laurels

If you really want to Stand Out in Your Career never stop learning. Never stop pushing the envelope. Don’t sit on your kingdom for too long. Always assume that someone is willing to put in those extra hours, to try that experiment one more time, to make one more call. Never get complacent.

Try things. Experiment. Explore. Lean in!

Personal Branding Blog – Stand Out In Your Career