So (again) i was thinking to myself, about myself,
and i had to conclude that i am not in control of myself. at least not as much as I think I am.
There are a lot of questions that arise there. The correct question to ask is, “Well, what do I control, then?”
My thoughts, maybe, but not as much as I think I do.
My environment, to some little degree.
My choices, to some little degree.
Decision and control is incredibly limited and in short-supply so it’s incredibly important to use it where possible to get more of it.
“You must be able to cut off a leg to save a life.” – some people can do this and some people can’t. It’s better to be in the former category, because it makes it likelier that you’ll survive.
You have to be working for what you want, not for what other people want for you, or want you to want, and so on.
Well, what do I want? I’d like to be free to pursue every random little whim that I have to any degree that I fancy. Most of that would probably be spent writing, some of it would be spent playing music, cooking, making films, a bunch of arty-farty self-indulgence. That’s the ideal playground paradise end-state, which may in fact not be as idyllic as it sounds, but for the time being it seems like something reasonable to have as an end-state to work towards. Maybe.
Anyway, that is not an option right now, because I still have some basic needs to take care of. I have to pay for shelter over my head, for food on my table, and for a bunch of other bills– water, electricity and so on. So I have to spend some amount of time doing things that make me money. Selling my time/labor for money. I’m a lucky man, I happen to have somehow gotten employed as part of a great team that’s working hard to make and sell something that makes a difference to other people. The details of that occupy my “working mind” all the time, and I’d prefer not to get into that right here right now, so let’s move on.
Between 2013 and 2015, my main challenge, or the main narrative or whatever– was just about adjusting to being a working adult. To having a daily commute, showing up to work everyday, getting stuff done, and so on. I think I’ve gotten a pretty decent handle on that. I struggled with some things– I particularly got sloppy with my fitness, I didn’t work out regularly, and so I started to get pretty lethargic. I was never good at managing my own time, my own energies, my own resources. I was a terrible CEO of Me, inc.
I’ve been thinking lately if it’s because I’ve never properly learned to be a leader. That I’ve always thought of myself as an errant child, the naughty son, the incalcitrant student, perennially getting into trouble, measuring his life by the amount of fun and mischief he could get up to between inevitable scoldings and disciplining. I would like to let go of this worldview altogether, but it seems to me like I’ll have to somehow dive into it and “address” it from the inside before I can properly discard it and grow into a newer, better worldview– one that’s defined by me as the warrior-king in charge of my own life, responsible for my own goals, my own interests, managing my own resources. The captain of my own fate and so on.
Anyway, that’s an endless rabbithole to delve into, and we can save that for later, or revisit it as and when appropriate. The main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing– and the main thing here right now is that I need to kick out the old CEO of Me, Inc. and replace him with a new, better one. Hey, that’s fun. Let’s look into Pmarca’s advice for doing turnarounds.
Step 1: Go dark and execute.
Ahahaha. I shot myself in the foot there. But okay, there are multiple ways of interpreting this. I can keep talking here, a very limited group of people bother to keep up with this and read this. But I’ll go dark everywhere else. Sure. I’ve done that before.
Step 2: Throw your predecessor under the bus.
Sure. He was a child. He didn’t know any better. He practically was non-existent, he just gave in to everyone and everything mindlessly.
Step 3: Identify the 3-5 things that are working surprisingly well in your business, and double down on those.
Okay in the context of my personal life, this might mean…
- Meatbag management – working out, eating well, sleeping well (this is my current limiting factor)
- Family – planning and scheduling date nights with the wife, meeting my family every second week, and so on
- For work – outsourcing and getting more eyes and hands involved
- Reflecting, reviewing, scheduling – both for work and for personal life, I mean c’mon
- Writing – always a good idea, keeps me motivated and excited and alive
Step 4: Identify the 3-5 things that are consuming a lot of money and time and yet going nowhere, and kill those.
- Distractions – social media, news, IM
- Doing things that aren’t priority #1
- Wasteful side-projects/interests…?
Step 5: Lay off a third of the workforce.
This is an interesting one. I’m interpreting this to mean– lay off a third of your mental resources / filing cabinets. I’ve accumulated a vast amount of shit that I’m never going to be meaningfully go through.
Step 6: Reduce layers, then promote up and comers and put them clearly in charge.
What does this mean in my context… have very clear KPIs and navigate directly by those.
Step 7: Figure out the single most important thing your company has to win at, and put your single best person in charge of winning at it.
Identify and execute on priority #1.
Step 8: Look at the market, figure out 3-5 new areas in which your company is not currently playing or winning, but are clearly going to grow a lot — and acquire the best company in each of those areas.
I guess in my case this means figuring out what skills I’m going to need to develop in order to be good at what I’ll want to be doing in the coming years. Already I can feel myself regretting having taken so long to begin developing some skills– things that years ago I thought weren’t worth starting on because they would take years to develop. Well, if I had started then, I’d be able to use them now. Ain’t that a bitch.
Anyway, jumping past that cute little thought exercise, the real question here is– okay, what do I need to do as the new CEO of Me, Inc? Right now, that thing is sleep. So goodnight, we’ll talk again tomorrow.