Saturday, April 30, 2011

Success?

Success:
–noun
1. the favorable or prosperous termination of attempts or endeavors.
2. the attainment of wealth, position, honors, or the like.
3. a successful  performance or achievement: The play was an instant success.
Pulled from Dictionary.com

I like the first definition, it allows more flexibility. Favorable termination could mean a lot of things. When people think of a start-up company there are usually three possible outcomes - 1.The company grows quickly and gains revenues/profits and everyone is happy 2. company fails quickly and although you may not be rich, you were happy to learn from this experience 3. company just meanders along without growing or dieing and no one is happy. I would consider the first two outcomes a success. But if you use the 2nd definition of success (posted above) only growing quickly and attaining profits is a success.

The second definition of success discounts any action that does not result in wealth or honors. I think this definition of success leads people to appreciate their actions less than they should. I spent an afternoon  with my son just walking around the block and talking about the city around us. It was my favorite part of my day, and yet I did not achieve success in something measurable like wealth or position. If I use the first definition for success, I would say it was very favorable termination to that part of my day. Always remember that there are multiple definitions of success.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Take action

I had a conversation with a lady the other day. She will remain anonymous.

She was talking to me about her plans to get into real estate management. I asked a simple question that started an hour long chat about starting a business. The question was, "Why do you want to work in real estate?" She stated that she had always been interested in real estate, but that she had no experience in the industry. She thought it would be a good way to make money, and I agreed, there is money to be made in real estate. But there is money to be made in almost any idea. What I wanted her to do and what we eventually moved the conversation around to, was finding what was her real goal. Was it that she really wanted to start a real estate business, or was it that she really wanted to work for herself and saw real estate as a possible path? We talked about what she enjoys doing. Turns out she just recently helped her friend organize her house and she had a good time doing that. She really did not think that was something people would pay for. Just a basic google search and I showed her how there were multiple business out there, that do exactly what she liked.

This lady I was talking to was in a troubled financial state. She was currently working with creditors to set up payment plans. I talked about how she can start experimenting with her future business, for FREE. Just like she helped the one friend organize her home, find one more friend or family member. Then another, after she shows that she can perform that job at a high level for free with friends, start charging. So maybe she still has to keep her day job for the time being, but she can can take steps toward her goals, with very little cost. And if she really wants to start working for herself, the only thing holding her back was herself and the first step of trying.

We returned the conversation to her real estate management idea. And I talked with her about why she first started talking to me. She came to me because she thought she needed 100k to start her real estate dreams. What we decided was that she did not need 100k right now. She needed to take action at a very low cost to help make the real decisions. She had no experience with real estate. She needed to try it out at a low cost. We discussed calling a real estate management company and asking to shadow their workplace on a weekend, or get a part-time job in that industry.

I do not know if our conversation changed her life. I do not know if she will go on to fame and glory in the organizing or real estate. But I hope she starts taking action on her dreams! I talk to a lot of burgeoning and established entrepreneurs daily. And I think a lot of them are sitting back waiting for a bank or an investor to step in and push them to the next level. I hope these entrepreneurs realize they have the potential, and it is time to step up and take action.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The start of the Checklist

Here is the list of items that I started working on when I decided to pursue an MBA.

Get a new vehicle to replace the Ford Ranger - Check - We went for a bigger vehicle than I expected, mainly due to the twins' surprise. Plus Liz is now using the Ford and loving it, so double Check
Trade in desktop for Laptop - Check - Hope it is still working great Baca
Visit Boston - Check - Was a great trip and figured out some much needed information
Decide on a school - Check - Going to Babson!
Figure out finances for MBA - Check - I have figured it out as much as you can with all the unknowns

Things left to be done:
Take inventory of possessions and donate/sale what I no longer need/want
Figure out housing in MA - This will be done by the end June (difficult to lock a lease starting in Aug. currently)
Figure out what we will be moving across country and how
Find the rest of the items on this list... and start checking them off


Friday, April 8, 2011

Hopes for my children

My kids are on my mind today. This is because Emily, Linc and I were able to check out the twins in an ultrasound. They are doing great, both growing well and at the same rate. It was fun to see my daughter open her mouth. I really cannot wait to see them with my own eyes and not through a screen. I really really love Lincoln, and I think he is the coolest little boy in the world, and I have to trust my Mom when she says that a parent's love will grow with new children.

I have really only one big hope for my children. That they are happy. It is hard to understand if you are not a parent, but once you are your happiness is pretty directly correlated with your kids' happiness. So it makes sense for my own sanity and happiness that I do my best to keep my kids (and my spouse) happy. I believe that my decision to pursue my MBA and moving to Boston will serve as an example to my children that they should work towards their dreams and that they can do anything. I think the next few years will be an adventure for Em and I, but I want my kids to be unafraid to embrace adventure.

I need to acknowledge some people here because I would not be willing to take this step out into the unknown if it was not for the love and support of Emily, my mom and dad and Em's parents as well. My mother has always said that I should do what I love and the money will follow. Those are tough words to live by 100% of the time. Everyone knows the realities of bills and the cost of living. But I do try to keep that phrase in my heart, and to be working towards my goals, even when I may be working at a job that doesn't fit. And I have seen both my parents work to achieve their goals. They may not be living their dream EVERY day. But I see that they are moving in the right direction. My mother has become an incredible sculptor, and she continues to impress with her running. My father has worked his way up to a job where he is happy working, and he has starting running as well! To see more evidence of these things please visit my mom's blog--->  http://lorimetcalfdolls.blogspot.com/ -- They just ran a half marathon in Moab together!

So thank you Mom and Dad for being a great example. I hope I can be the same for my kids!

My Awesome Family

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

The question

Since I am very interested in small businesses and when people ask me what I want to do my answer is usually, "I want to start a business". It is the second question that usually causes problems or confusion. Most people will then ask something along the lines of, "What's your idea for your business?"

Here is where I am stuck.

I honestly do have an idea for my business. I do not have a certain magic idea that will make millions. But furthermore I really do not care what idea starts my business. I think if you went back to the idea that started most businesses, it does not look anything like how the business ended up. And I really do not think that the success of a business is based around this ONE idea that started it all. I believe the success of a business comes down to great execution, which boils down to delivering on your promise as a business, and do so in an efficient and effective manner, with great service. As well as the ability to adapt and integrate with the changes that come along. If you go through some really great companies, they were not doing something that was a new idea. Google did not invent the search engine, but they did it better. Apple did not invent the mp3 player, but they did it better. I do not think I am going to come up with the next big thing, but I believe there are things I can do better than anyone else.

But that is a problem because there is a lot of pressure to have that idea, or plan. You see a lot of Business Plan competition that seem to emphasize the need for a great idea. Round-up of Boston Area University Competitions and yet there is also the people saying you do not want or need a business plan: why-business-plans-can-actually-hurt-business-progress

So this leads me on to my hope for the near future, and why I choose to do my MBA at Babson. My goal is that I will find another person, or persons that will be there to bounce ideas and collaborate to create something great!

There are a few industries that I am interested in. I like Green Energy/Tech, Recycling/upcycling and really anything that makes life better. I would like the make the world a better place, even if that just means making my community better, or the lives of my customers and employees.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Action in the face of uncertainty

I have recently made the decision to attend Babson College for their two year MBA program. If you were to ask me why I choose this school, I could easily spout rankings and statistics, but to be honest I cannot pin point a reason why I choose the school. I tried very hard to put into numbers all of my thoughts and feelings about the schools I was looking at. As you might have noticed from a previous post, I usually think through numbers quite a bit when assessing a situation. But choosing an MBA program is not a binary question. There is too many feelings and unknowns that cloud my thoughts. A lot of what if scenarios start running through my head and what ifs are very good at causing inaction. So I keep trying to plug all the variables into one equation and see what answer pops out. So plugging through it I find that to many variables are unknown.
Lets go through some of the major questions that matter to me.
Which MBA will give me better career opportunities? There are stats in this but I find them irrelevant to the individual.
Which MBA will better help me start a business? Unknowable... and I think this depends on an individual more than the program.
Which MBA will better prepare me for the future? I do not know how to quantify this... but I had a feeling that Babson would be best.
So after really thinking about this for I had a few feelings and I do not like making decisions on feelings.  But with a complete lack of quantifiable figures and facts
So now I am faced with a question that does not have a mathematical answer. What do you do?

I choose Babson. I was not going to get all answers I wanted. And I never will. What I decided was to act, and make the best of every situation presented. I have heard this before, and I do not know to attribute to this quote, but you are the biggest factor in your success in an MBA program not the school. So I am going to work very hard to make the best of every moment and opportunity that Babson provides.

The President of Babson has stated this sentiment in his new book here -> http://actiontrumpseverything.com/
And you can find him him describing it here --> CreAction Video

On a side note I have just started reading this book - Though it is just a digital copy and I do not own a e-reading device, so it might take longer than normal. And I plan to right a review here soon enough.

Friday, April 1, 2011

April Fools

I have some close people who celebrate their birthday today.

My Grandma Cox is turning 85. She is a very very strong example of what staying active does for your health. Fondest memories of Grandma include: Toast with cinnamon and sugar, playing with Legos for hours upon hours, Berenstain Bears, jumping between the two beds in the basement (against her wishes... sorry Grandma), the trapdoor / laundry drop, climbing her amazing tree in the side yard, Kerplunk and puzzles in the basement, that old city playset with a connecting traffic signal between the building, all of those Chevron with techron cars, rolling down her one and two hilled backyard, picking apples, Grandma's amazing gardening skills, Thanksgiving over the years, and of course Bear Lake.

And a big shoot out to one of my best friends Johnathan "Baca" Nielsen. He may only be turning one year older, but with a new baby girl, he has grown up a whole lot in the last 6 months. He has always been one of the funniest and most loyal people I have ever known. I think he has a Dick Van Dyke type of humor, one of the few people I could see accidentally slipping on a banana peel and laughing till our sides hurt. He has always been the person who can remind me to stop taking my self and life so seriously.

So Happy Birthday to both of these amazing people, no joking around.