Video Transcript

00:09 Ric Elias: And then, one day a question came to my mind, which has changed the trajectory of my life as a CEO. That question was, "If I was not afraid of dying, why am I afraid of failing?" If I wasn't afraid of dying, why am I afraid of failing? 'Cause ultimately, all of us, to one degree or another, are driven by fear of failure. We chose a profession where you jump off a plane without a parachute, hoping you'll land somewhere that it doesn't hurt, knowing that the majority of people are not gonna land. And that fear of failure drives us all the time, all the time.

00:53 Elias: And I felt like I was in this constant pursuit of the next goal. "When we get to 30 employees, I'll rest a little more. When we get to 100... When we get to 200... " It was a bit of a mirage. You got there, and it was the next one. "When we get to 10 million bucks, 40 million bucks or 80 million... " it didn't matter. And I realized that this fear of failure was driving this notion of, "I needed to live in the future." I needed to be thinking about the next thing that might happen to us. And I couldn't rest because if I rested, something would happen. It was like a climb to a topless mountain that was robbing me from the ability to really be present.

01:30 Elias: And I realized that I needed to let go of that fear of failure, and that I was gonna become intentional about being present. And I was gonna break every bone in my body to accomplish that. And a lot of things have changed, but the one thing that I did above all, was becoming very vocal about it in our company. Every employee meeting, all I talk about is how lucky we are to be where we are, creating a global consciousness of how fortunate we are. Our favorite saying in our company is, "These are the good old days." We'll look back at this time and say, "These are the good old days." Those were the good old days, 2010, 2011, the good old days.

02:13 Elias: And you know what? Two things have happened that are quite remarkable. One is, we become a really happy company. If you come visit us, you will say what every guest says, "There's an energy about this place you don't see anywhere." And I'm convinced that that energy's driven partly by that conviction that we are very lucky to be there. There's a sense of general gratitude, what is so unique. And the second thing that has happened is that our employees don't want the good old days to end. So we have this general sense of, "We are not gonna become complacent, we are not gonna take this for granted, we're gonna keep innovating and changing and be open to change to continue to be a great company."

02:59 Elias: But that wasn't enough, so I think be present, I can live in the present moment, that's great, but that wasn't enough, I still fear. The fear of failure was still driving me in other ways. I still was Bugs Bunny. I played pitcher, catcher, second base, inner field. Well, I delegated a lot of things, all decisions basically came through me. All major decisions came through me and I did not feel like I could let go. My job satisfaction was diminishing and quite frankly, my only way out was to get out. And I didn't feel like I was ready to get out because life have become more and more taxing. Reality is, I was keeping a lot of really talented people pushed down and I was forcing our organization into slower growth by my own constraint. My fear of failure of letting go, that someone could do as well or better than me, or thinking that I can do everything better than anybody was driving my behavior. So I decided in a very methodical fashion that I was going to get four people ready to take over the day-to-day of the company and I was gonna give up control.

04:06 Elias: And we did that at the end of 2009, and I tell you, I love my job. They have to deal with a lot of stuff, I have no clue what's happening. And I don't think it's a shocker that we've gone from 350 employees to 1,250 employees. That happened because they're better than me at doing a lot of things that I thought I was better than them at doing. And we, as a by-product of that, are so much healthier as a company and are in so much better position to continue the good old days going. But that wasn't enough, the fear of failure was still driving me to work insane hours and I could never disconnect, no matter what. If I try to compartmentalize my life and got home and I wanted to see the kids, there was still something back there. My iPhone was in my pocket. Notice it wasn't the Blackberry anymore.

05:01 Elias: My iPhone is in my pocket and I couldn't stop thinking about work, and I said, "You know what? If I don't fear failure, why do I really care?" So I decided I was gonna put my family first. So I look at my calendar and I'll say, "I like to travel." I don't think there's anything wrong with a hard-working parent, by the way, but I said, "I'm gonna take my kids to school at least three days a week. I am gonna be home for dinner as often as I can, and when there's visitors in town, we're having business dinners at 8 o'clock after I put my kids to sleep. I am gonna attend every event, well the majority of the events. I am going to be present when I'm with them. I'm gonna turn off my phone when I leave my car. I'm going to do work when I wanna do work. When they go to sleep, when my wife goes to sleep, on the weekends when I have a window of time, when they're doing some other things... " And I tell you that I feel less conflicted about my ability to be balanced. I feel less conflicted about my ability to be a good dad and a good CEO because I put my family first.

06:05 Elias: I walk around with an agenda where I circle the days I'm gonna travel, and I say "no" to a lot of things. And that's quite okay. I feel like, with the help of my wife, I'm actually finding a way to live up to my priority, which is watching my kids grow up. So, my challenge to you guys today is, "Do you know what your purpose really is? Are you in this endless climb to build a business, forgetting that there's a lot more you can do? Do you think of your business as a platform to do a lot more than just to make money?" These are your good old days. You guys should be very proud to be sitting there today. Well, your businesses can be a lot more and they don't have to come at the sacrifice of so much else. Thank you.