If you can get to an INC Iconic program (they are all over the U.S.) it will ignite a next level of passion for your fast and crazy ride as a business go-getter. More than that, you'll get amazing ideas for your personal as well as your professional life. Most of all, you'll learn some critical pointers about that mysterious thing called work-life balance that causes so much stress.
Enter Bob Parsons, the myth buster.
I was with him at an INC Iconic in Los Angeles and came away with a nothing is impossible feeling. His advice is a resonator for seeing how to win. It's about digging down to be the real you wherever you are. It's time to bust the myth of the two selves. That thinking has taken fun from how to respond to the daily adventures of life. It has made so many stay in small boxes and play the game of business and the game of life, too close to the chest.
Not so for Bob Parsons.
The man is a whirlwind of energy and he is able to share who he is with depth, passion and clarity, so pay attention.
His "rags to riches" story is not meant to tug at your heartstrings. Not Bob. He doesn't want any poor boy sympathy. He talks about how life ebbs and flows from the eyes of a reporter. He does what is vital for living with zest and vigor: he gets at observation of what happens, learns from it, makes adjustments and moves on.
He shows you how to pay attention and grab the better from the bitter. Just listening to Bob made me want to keep going from risk to risk. He offers suggestions for how to let go of one trapeze bar and trust that the next will appear, just in time. Here are 5 ways to stay real, stay on track and stay to win:
- Never stop: No complaining, just do. There are a million ways to make money and keep it legal. Big snow? Dig cars out. Big heat? Get them lemonade. Do odd jobs. You will always learn no matter what you do. Just do it with a smile and a laugh. Start somewhere and never, never give up. (Bob is a self- taught programmer by experimenting from a book he bought out of curiosity).
- Failing is fine: Change that word to something else. You will learn from everything so again, no failing, no complaining. And hang in there. If at first it comes up on the negative side and you still believe you can do it, keep going. (Bob started Parsons Technologies and wanted to sell his software so he placed some ads. For two years, nada. Till it finally took off and he sold it ten years later for $64 million).
- Adapt to the times: What was good last year may be just a vague memory today. Pay attention to what people want from you. Keep listening and make sure you are filling a need not your ego. (When Bob started GoDaddy he did everything else until he saw that need for registering and selling domain names. He also knew that to get his site known he had to do something spectacular and so he went for Super Bowl advertising and made it fun, relevant and irreverent.
- Make it fun: That means make life fun. It's not about working hard and then playing. It's about creating and laughing and living fully. And that means making it a delight for your employees and your family and, well everyone around you. (Bob's investment company, YAM which comes from a common saying in inner city Baltimore "You're A Mess" is thriving, with 350 employees and $160 million in annual revenues. Fun means Harley-Davidson dealerships that will include a burger joint, and maybe even a wedding chapel!)
- Give Back: There is enough for all of us and when you finally make it past the bootstrap stage, remember to help those coming up behind you. (The Bob and Renee Parsons Charitable Foundation is part of Bob's belief that everyone deserves a shot at the American dream).
What struck me most when I sat listening to Bob Parsons was his appreciation of living in the moment. That's now everyday talk, mindfulness and meditation are buzz words in business. However, Bob made it so real when he talked about his time in Viet Nam where he had to live just that one more day. In doing so he received three medals, including The Purple Heart. He talked about how in both combat and business you need to stay focused and be ready for each new moment of surprise and stay centered.
Follow Bob's advice and live life fully, be in the moment to keep going and keep growing.